Eagles, Seminoles looking for 1A footing

Football stockBy Brandon Speck

Daily Journal

The next two weeks are pretty important for Falkner and Smithville. Tonight is critical.

The two Division 1-1A teams face off in Smithville with a home playoff spot hanging in the balance.

Falkner can rest a bit more comfortably. The Eagles (6-2, 5-0) are tied with Coffeeville atop the division. Smithville and Hamilton are both 4-1.

Smithville coach Bubba Tacker says his team doesn’t have to look ahead to know what they want.

“Of course you want to win all of them. We don’t ever look to just finish last. We want to be in that top spot,” Tacker said. “Anything can still happen from here on out, so every win is critical.”

Coffeeville beat Smithville. Falkner hosts Coffeeville next week and Smithville (6-2, 4-1) goes to Hamilton.

Smithville has gotten great play from tailback Tyler Hood behind a line that Tacker credits as the key to their success.

“They’re just like they were last year and they beat us 35-6,” Falkner coach Cory Armstrong said. “We’ve got our hands full.”

Falkner junior back Jeramie Lawrence leads all of Class 1A in touchdowns with 23 – that’s good for third in the state. He has rushed for 1,071 yards.

Junior quarterback Jase Stroupe has been plenty effective, too. Stroupe has passed for 990 yards and rushed for another 807 and accounted for 21 touchdowns.

Senior linebacker Tray Woody leads the Eagles in tackles.

“We’ve watched Smithville and Coffeeville all week on film and our guys have done a great job of not even paying one bit of attention to Coffeeville,” Armstrong said. “We’re so focused on when you play Smithville, you have to be so disciplined. They’re so good on the offensive line.”

Tough losses

Falkner’s only losses have come to Tippah rivals Walnut and Ripley, teams now a combined 16-2. Smithville has beaten Falkner seven of the last eight meetings.

“They’ve got athletes at every position – good athletes,” Tacker said. “They’re probably three times more talented than we are.”

brandon.speck@journalinc.com