All games start at 7 p.m.
Corinth (5-3) at Booneville (8-0)
– Division 1-3A records: Corinth 3-0, Booneville 3-0.
– Rankings: Corinth is ranked No. 3 in the Daily Journal’s Class 3A rankings, while Booneville is the top-ranked team.
– This week: The division title is essentially up for grabs tonight as the top 1-3A teams play their second-to-last division and regular-season game of 2009.
– Recent history: Corinth has won two of the last three meetings, but each has been decided by three or less points. The Warriors won 15-13 last year and 43-40 in 2006, with the Blue Devils winning 28-26 in 2007. Booneville coach Jim Drewry is 7-7 against Corinth (3-0 while at Kossuth and 4-7 at Booneville).
– Corinth: QB Parks Frazier is looking to become just the third different Corinth player to pass for more than 2,000 yards in a season. … WR/DB Diante Curlee is just the second player in school history with more than 4,000 all-purpose yards. He’s also the first to have more than 1,000 rushing (1,034), receiving (1,632) and on punt and kickoff returns (1,077 – 794 KOR, 283 PR). His 6 career non-offensive scores (4 INTs, 1 KOR, 1 PR) are the most in school history. … RB/WR/DB Deonta Herman played 11 games as a freshman in 2007, starting four games at OLB during the playoffs. He didn’t play last year and had 2 career rushing attempts and no receptions before this season. All of his rushing attempts prior to the 6th game of this season (vs. Ripley) have come from a wingback spot. … The Warriors are averaging 36.7 points in their division games.
– Booneville: Corinth coach Jimmy Mitchell said the Blue Devils’ offense is very methodical and basic, but very productive. He said if they start to have success with one particular play, they will keep running the same play over and over again until you stop it. … QB Jerion Jones has completed 65 of 128 passes for 1,117 yards, 10 TDs and 8 INTs. He has rushed 94 times for 240 yards and 2 TDs. … RB/LB Bo Brown has 119 rushing attempts for 721 yards and 12 TDs. He has made 68 tackles. … WR Drew Christo has 27 receptions for 443 yards and 2 TDs, while teammate Tre Welch has 20 catches for 505 yards and 4 TDs. … The Blue Devils’ pass rush – led by Bryson Beene, Kane Langston, Alex Cook, Will Wroten and Buddy Johnson – has accounted for 27 sacks this season.
DeSoto Central (3-5) at Tupelo (1-6)
– Division 1-6A records: DeSoto Central 0-4, Tupelo 1-3
– Rankings: Neither team is ranked.
– This week: Tupelo lost two division games last week, falling Monday to Southaven, 19-17, and Friday to South Panola, 42-0. DeSoto Central lost last week to Columbus, 12-7.
– Recent history: DeSoto has not scored in its two games against Tupelo, losing 41-0 last season, 47-0 in 2007.
– Tupelo: The Golden Wave will play its first game in six seasons without head coach Eric Collins on the sidelines. He was suspended Thursday for disciplinary reasons. … QB Luke Hobson will make his second start. He has completed 10 of 31 for 225 yards and no TDs this season. … RB/LB Chris Donald played QB in the Wildcat formation against South Panola.
– DeSoto Central: The Jaguars have lost four straight since a Sept. 11 win against Cordova, 35-6. … QB Ray Price has combined to rush and pass for 477 yards. … WR Jeremy Spikener has 19 catches for 289 yards and 2 TDs.
Hatley (5-4) at Baldwyn (3-5)
– Division 1-2A records: Baldwyn 3-0, Hatley 1-2.
– Rankings: Baldwyn is ranked No. 5 in the Journal’s small school rankings.
– This week: Baldwyn has won three in a row. The Bearcats are currently in first place in their division. Hatley has lost its last two games and is in fifth place.
– Recent history: Baldwyn has won the last three meetings, outscoring Hatley 158-22 in the process.
– Hatley: QB Cody Woods is 19 of 59 passing for 380 yards, 1 TD and 7 INTs. He has 35 carries for 196 yards and 1 TD. … FB Cody Taylor has 73 carries for 542 yards and 7 TDs. He also has 7 receptions for 121 yards. … ILB West Warren leads the team with 78 tackles.
n Baldwyn: QB Tanner Gaines has completed 60 of 147 passes for 768 yards, 6 TDs and 5 INTs. He has rushed 56 times for 236 yards and 3 TDs. … RB Tyler Estes has 59 carries for 243 yards and 3 TDs, while teammate Lorenzo Hill has 28 carries for 208 yards and 2 TDs. … LB Devin Lindsey leads the team with 114 tackles (73 solo). He has 5 sacks and 5 forced fumbles on the year.
Nettleton (7-2) at Mooreville (6-3)
– Division 2-3A records: Nettleton 2-1, Mooreville 1-2.
– Rankings: Nettleton is ranked fourth in the Journal’s Class 3A rankings, while Mooreville is in the fifth spot.
– This week: Mooreville is playing for the fourth and final playoff spot in Division 2-3A. Nettleton is currently in a tie for second with Water Valley.
– Recent history: Haven’t played in the last three seasons.
– Nettleton: Coach Jack Clark said it’s been a challenge to prepare his team’s offense to handle the pressure Mooreville’s defense brings. “They play a bunch of different fronts and bring a lot of different pressure,” he said. “They do so much on defense. … It’s been a struggle to prepare our team to do a good job of knowing where the pressure is coming from because it comes from everywhere.” … QB Anthony Franklin has thrown for 1,364 yards and 12 TDs. “He’s a good passer,” said Mooreville coach Kevin Austin. “You can’t show him much he hasn’t seen. He scares me as much taking off and running with it. He knows when it is time to take off with it, when to pull it down and run with it.” … RB Elmonte McClendon has rushed for 643 yards and 4 TDs. … The Tigers’ two losses have come to North Pontotoc and Water Valley.
– Mooreville: Austin said his defense aims to get defensive stops by confusing its opponents rather than relying solely on its athleticism. “We try to confuse more than overpower,” he said. … The Troopers gave up only 2 touchdowns – both in the second quarter – against Aberdeen, a team that is averaging close to 37 points per game this season. “We took away the big plays,” Austin said. … The Troopers’ defense is only allowing 13 points per game, but their offense is only averaging 18 a game. … QB Griff Loftis has thrown for nearly 900 yards and 6 TDs. … RB Gary Johnson has rushed for nearly 850 yards and 8 TDs. … Austin and two other assistants have been sick this week.
Olive Branch (6-2) at Starkville (3-5)
– Division 1-6A records: Olive Branch 3-1, Starkville 3-1.
– Rankings: Neither team is ranked.
– This week: It will be homecoming for Starkville tonight and the Yellowjackets, who reside in fourth place in their division, are in the hunt for a playoff spot. Olive Branch is in second place in the division because of its win vs. Southaven, and Southaven is in third place because of its win last week vs. Starkville. … Starkville coach Bill Lee said his field is “in pretty bad condition. It definitely will be if it rains again – you don’t really know what you’re going to get. It’s a quagmire.”
– Recent history: Olive Branch has won two of the last three meetings, with Starkville winning the 2007 contest 14-7. The Yellowjackets lead the series 7-5, but Olive Branch has won five of the last six.
– Olive Branch: Last week vs. Horn Lake marked the second straight week that Olive Branch came back to win from a 2 TD deficit late in the second half. … Olive Branch forced 4 fumbles by Horn Lake.
n Starkville: Lee said his team needs to protect the ball. “Our decision-making has got to be better,” he said. “We’ve taken some chances on things that have hurt us.” … Lee said WR Chuck Tillery is still not 100 percent after fracturing a bone in his leg. Tillery has 13 receptions for 157 yards in the 3 games he has played. … QB Jaquez Johnson is 94 for 184 passing for 1,148 yards, 6 TDs and 6 INTs. He has rushed 116 times for 202 yards and 4 TDs. … RB Billy Shed has 61 carries for 250 yards and 16 catches for 108 yards. He has scored 3 TDs. … TE Martavius Foster has 16 catches for 234 yards. … RB Justin Rogers has 46 carries for 179 yards and 15 catches for 258 yards. He has scored 6 TDs.
Pontotoc (7-1) at Itawamba AHS (8-0)
– Division 1-4A records: Pontotoc 2-1, Itawamba AHS 3-0.
– Rankings: Pontotoc is ranked fifth in the Journal’s large schools’ rankings, while Itawamba is ranked third.
– This week: IAHS coach Jamie Mitchell said he still thinks the division is a three-team race between Pontotoc, Shannon and his team. If so, this game has huge implications for home-field advantage during the first round of the playoffs.
– Recent history: Itawamba had blowout wins in 2006 and 2007, but last year’s game was a lot closer, with the Indians pulling out a 22-20 victory.
– Pontotoc: Mitchell said the Warriors are very similar to his team. “They got weapons all over the field,” he said. “They don’t miss very often. They got four to five guys they feel comfortable throwing the ball to.” … Pontotoc threw the ball 34 times, while running only 10 times vs. Shannon last week. Pontotoc coach Charlie Dampeer said, “I don’t know if I coached a game where we threw that many times.” The reason why they passed so much, Dampeer explained, was Shannon lining up more defenders in the box, on the line of scrimmage, and that made it virtually impossible to have success running the football. “In the ballgame against Shannon, a hitch pass has to be a running play for you; they aren’t going to let you run the football,” he said.
– Itawamba AHS: Mitchell also says that his team is not looking ahead to its game against top-ranked Shannon next Friday. “We hadn’t even discussed that,” he said. “Our plate is loaded with Pontotoc. They are very, very dangerous.” … Dampeer pointed out that Itawamba has 25 seniors on its roster. “I’ve always said you win big with seniors,” Dampeer said.
Shannon (8-0) at New Albany (5-4)
– Division 1-4A records: Shannon 3-0, New Albany 1-2.
– Rankings: Shannon is the top-ranked school in the Journal’s large schools’ rankings; New Albany is not ranked.
– This week: On “senior night,” New Albany will be trying to hold on to the fourth spot in 1-4A, which also means earning the last division playoff spot. “We gotta win one of our last two games,” said New Albany coach Ron Price. “If we beat Shannon, it really messes everything up (in the division). If we beat Tishomingo County next week, we are guaranteed the fourth spot in the division.”
– Recent history: Shannon has won the last three meetings, with the 2007 one being the closest: Shannon won, 63-41. The Red Raiders won 48-14 last year and 35-0 in 2006.
– Shannon: Red Raiders coach Chad Cook has his team focused for this week’s game after coming off a hard-fought victory over division rival Pontotoc. “Every game from here on out counts,” he said. “We need to treat every game like it’s a playoff game. You lose, the season’s over.” … Cook on tonight’s foe:“New Albany is much improved and we are going to get their best shot.”
– New Albany: QB Tyler Basil will be making his 11th career start. He has completed 72 of 151 passes for 11 TDs and 8 INTs this season. … Price on Shannon’s defense: “They’re so good defensively. … Teams have had a tough time moving the ball on them. They played some good football teams: Cleveland, Pontotoc and West Point.”
West Point (7-1) at Saltillo (3-5)
– Division 1-5A records: West Point 4-0, Saltillo 0-4.
– Rankings: West Point is ranked No. 2 in the Journal’s large school rankings.
n This week: West Point is sitting on top of the division standings as it visits Saltillo on the Tigers’ “senior night.”
– Recent history: West Point won their only meeting in the last three years, 41-0 in 2006.
– West Point: Wave coach Chris Chambless said he expects both his team and Saltillo to be conservative on offense because of the Saltillo field’s muddy conditions. He said the game will likely be decided “in the battle of the trenches.” … Wave offensive line coach Roger Burton said he was impressed with Saltillo MLB Landon McGinnis and OLB Quad Freeman, to name a few, and overall, Saltillo has a solid defense that runs to the ball well. “They have great speed, size, athleticism and strength – all of the above,” he said. … RBs Jacoby Lee and LaKenderic Thomas lead the Wave in rushing. … West Point’s lone loss was to Saltillo’s former division rival, Shannon.
n Saltillo: QB Drew Chisholm is 20 of 55 passing for 290 yards, 2 TDs and 5 INTs. He has rushed 57 times for 203 yards and 1 TD. … RB Desmon Hayes has 64 carries for 192 yards and 2 TDs. … RB Najee Lamar has 34 carries for 153 yards and 2 TDs. … WR Pregon Staples has 10 catches for 194 yards and 2 TDs.
Compiled by John Wilbert; Tupelo capsule compiled by Gene Phelps
NEMS Daily Journal