By Blake Long/Special to the Journal
TUPELO – Coming off a win against county rival Shannon to close the nondivision portion of Tupelo High’s schedule, Golden Wave head coach David Bradberry had a concern or two to deal with.
Bradberry wondered how his team would handle an extra week of practice – and if his players could return to full health in that time.
Minus a lingering injury or two, it seems Bradberry had no reason to fear as Tupelo prepared to host Columbus in the last of a four-game home stretch for the Wave.
“We got some things done,” he said. “We got some well and some didn’t. It’s a day-to-day type thing.”
The road to the state playoffs begins in tonight’s 7:30 contest at GoldenWave Field. Tupelo enters the Division 1-6A opener for both schools at 2-2 while Columbus is 3-1 after its win over Louisville last week.
“When you’re climbing the ladder to the playoffs you have to win the big ones and this is the biggest game of the season to this point,” Bradberry said. “You’ve got to win the right games.”
Tupelo fell to the Falcons on a late touchdown pass in their 2011 meeting before winning four of its final six division games to leapfrog Columbus for a postseason berth.
This year’s edition pits two wellmatched defenses against each other. The Golden Wave forced a season-high three turnovers in its last outing, including a fumble recovery by Ashton Wedel.
Tupelo allows 17 points per game while Columbus gives up only eight.
The Columbus defense “runs to the ball and is very physical,” Bradberry said. “These guys have won since junior high and expect to win.”
On offense, quarterback Trace Lee leads the Falcons with just under 300 yards passing and three touchdowns. His main target, DeMarcus Vance, has six receptions for 89 yards.
Thomas Harris continued his steady improvement for the Golden Wave against Shannon, throwing for 160 yards and a touchdown.