By David Wheeler/Special to the NEMS Daily Journal
The Northeast Tigers junior college football team has taken its lumps in recent weeks.
That includes a heartbreaking 19-13 loss at home to No. 4 Northwest, and a forgettable 61-7 setback on the road at No. 8 Gulf Coast last week.
Today, Northeast jumps back into North Division play, going on the road to Coahoma for a 6:30 p.m. kickoff.
“Coahoma has the same record as us, and they aren’t that bad,” Northeast head coach Ricky Smither said. “And Coahoma does a lot of things like Northwest and Gulf Coast.”
Northeast (1-4, 0-2) will get its shot at Coahoma (1-4, 0-2), but will do so with a more youthful look on defense.
Injuries have thinned out some of the Tigers sophomores, including star linebacker Nick Thomason from Muscle Shoals.
Smither will be counting on his defensive front in this contest including freshman linebacker Tim Hudgins from Columbus to replace Thomason, and freshman lineman Parrish Huddleston of Baldwyn.
“The kids realize they need to play well,” said Smither, who will start only three sophomores on defense today. “After this week of practice, I think the kids know that if anything is going to get done, we’ve got to get it done,
“I’m interested to see 99 per cent of the future playing tonight.”
The Indians (3-2, 1-2) are coming off some recent tough-to-swallow losses themselves, including the controversial 14-12 setback to Holmes, and last week’s 49-7 defeat at the hands of Northwest.
Itawamba must put those games behind them as they step out of North Division play to host No. 14 Copiah-Linolcn at 7 p.m. today.
“Northwest played as good a football game as I’ve seen someone play,” Itawamba head coach Jon Williams said. “Give them a lot of credit, they played a complete game.”
Williams will be looking for just such an effort from his Indians against Co-Lin (4-1, 3-0), the South Division current leader.
“Honestly, it doesn’t matter who we play, we just need to get back out there and play,” Williams said. “This week, hopefully, we’re a more patient, more methodical offense.
“Defensively last week, we didn’t tackle well, and that’s one thin we had done good the previous four games we played.”
Of note, freshman quarterback Andrew Goodman is out for the season after shoulder surgery.
In North play, Holmes is at East Mississippi on Saturday in a matchup of two of three unbeaten teams in the division.