By Gene Phelps and John Wilbert/NEMS Daily Journal
All kickoffs at 7:30 p.m. unless noted otherwise
Mooreville (1-0) at Strayhorn (0-0)
– This week: Class 3A Mooreville, a 17-14 winner over county rival 5A Saltillo in its season opener, travels to Tate County to face Strayhorn, a 2A team.
– Recent history: Mooreville defeated Strayhorn, 34-6, last season.
– Mooreville: K Matthew Pannell kicked a 37-yard field goal on the game’s final play last week to lift the Troopers past Saltillo. … QB Griff Loftis passed for 157 yards and a TD in the opener. … A fumble recovery in the end zone by Channing Nanney on the final play of the third quarter tied Saltillo at 14-14.
– Strayhorn: The team finished 1-10 last season with its lone victory a 6-0 decision against Coahoma County AHS. … RB Bishop Temple returns for his senior season after rushing for 794 yards and scoring four TDs last year. … LB Greg Caston recorded 45 tackles in 2009 to tie for the team lead. … QB Dylan Cottrell started last season as a sophomore.
Memphis East (0-1) at Shannon (0-1)
– This week: Both teams are looking to rebound from Week 1 losses. Shannon dropped a 39-14 decision to defending 5A state champion West Point while Memphis East lost 48-8 to 6A power Olive Branch.
– Recent history: Shannon defeated East 42-34 last season.
– Memphis East: RB Brian Kimbrow scored the Mustangs’ lone TD – a 3-yard run late in the fourth quarter – in their loss to Olive Branch. … East opens its season with four consecutive road games. Next up are trips to Hamilton, Tenn., and Southwind. … A Class 5A school in Tennessee, Memphis East finished 3-7 last season.
– Shannon: QB Legilbert Bogan struggled in last week’s opener against West Point, throwing two interceptions. One of the picks was returned for a TD. Bogan threw for 1,389 yards and 16 TDs last season. … WR/QB Jake Scott scored on a 5-yard run and RB Marcus Thornton added a 22-yard TD run for the Red Raiders. … The defense gave up 253 rushing yards last week to West Point.
New Hope (0-0) at Tupelo (0-0)
– This week: Tupelo kicks off its season under the first-year leadership of veteran coach David Bradberry. The Golden Wave finished 3-7 last season. … New Hope, under the direction of former Mooreville player and coach Michael Bradley, finished 11-2 overall last season. The Trojans’ lone regular season loss was to 5A state champ West Point.
– Recent history: New Hope defeated Tupelo 28-17 last season with the help of two second-half Wave turnovers.
–New Hope: Bradley welcomes back many of his 2009 starters, including QB Zak Thrasher, who completed 101 of 190 passes for 1,254 yards and 10 TD, and RB Terrance Dentry, who rushed for 1,279 yards and scored 12 TD. … TE/WR JoJo Reeves, who caught a TD pass in the Trojans’ jamboree win against Philadelphia is 6-3, 240. … The Trojans have a multiple offensive attack that features speed. “They’ll run the speed sweep from the wildcat formation,” THS defensive coordinator Lamar Aldridge said. … OL has plenty of size with 6-6, 310 Park Stevens, 6-4, 305 Earnest Lang and 6-2, 290 Thomas Fisher.
– Tupelo: Wave’s offensive thrust features RB Ashton Shumpert, QB Luke Hobson, WR Terrell Pinson and WR Matt McIntosh. “Luke (Hobson) has looked really sharp the last week and a half,” offensive coordinator Andy Crotwell said. … New Hope’s defense moves around and “gives you a lot of looks,” Crotwell noted. “They get you in a guessing game a little bit.” … Standout DE P.J. Jones opens the season injury free. He was limited by nagging hip and ankle injuries last season. … Bradberry was impressed with everything he has seen in his preseason scouting of New Hope. “They don’t turn the ball over,” he said. “They never give you a short field. They break a lot of plays. The thing we’ve got to be able to do is answer.” … Listen to the Golden Wave games on Sunny 93.3 FM each week.
Caledonia (0-1) at Saltillo (0-1)
– This week: Class 5A Saltillo returns home after its season-opening loss to county rival Mooreville, 17-14, last week. Caledonia, a 4A school, has lost 20 straight games since an Aug. 28, 2008 win against Hamilton.
– Recent history: Saltillo defeated Caledonia, 49-6, last season.
– Caledonia: RB Tyler Lowe was a bright spot for the Confederates in their 28-7 loss to Ruleville Central. He rushed for 85 yards on 16 carries. … QB Richard Keen struggled passing, going 1 for 7 for 5 yards and suffering two interceptions. However, he rushed for 55 yards on seven carries.
– Saltillo: QB Chase Williams, a junior, was 2 of 9 passing for 38 yards in his debut against Mooreville. … The Tigers’ backfield trio of Quad Freeman, O’Brien Stewart and Ahmad Tubbs rushed for 192 yards as a unit. Freeman’s 14 carries for 96 yards and a TD led the way. Stewart added 73 yards on 15 carries while Tubbs, the fullback, had 11 carries for 23 yards and a TD. … DB Justin Moroschak paced the defense in the opener with 8 tackles and a pass interception.
Itawamba AHS (0-1) at Amory (1-0)
– This week: Amory, fresh off a 10-0 shutout of area rival Nettleton, will take on an Itawamba AHS team that had a rough-going in its season opener: a 27-7 loss to Hernando at home. Tonight’s contest will also feature head coaches in their first seasons with their respective teams: Ashley Kuhn at Itawamba AHS and Trent Hammond at Amory. Since they played on different nights last week, both teams’ coaches got to watch the other team play in person. “Not a lot,” Kuhn said when asked if he watched film of last year’s meetings. “We got two new coaches. They got a new coach doing some different things. I don’t know how much it (last year’s games) translates year to year. We’re bringing totally different staffs into the game. We’re now in the position with our guys being young, while they are the ones who are older and more experienced.”
– Recent history: The Indians defeated Amory twice last season in Fulton: 49-7 in the regular season and 25-0 in the first round of the playoffs. In 2008, IAHS won 35-14. The Panthers got the best of the Indians in 2007 with a 24-14 home win and in 2006 with a 35-6 victory in Fulton.
–Itawamba AHS: Even though Itawamba AHS lost six offensive starters and its head coach and offensive coordinator from last season, Hammond said he and his staff still looked at game film from last year’s contests. “They have a lot of skill guys,” he said. “They spread the ball out. They share the ball around.” … Without a true feature back heading into the season, Kuhn said QB Maikhail Miller will probably have to run more. Against Hernando, he had 11 attempts – some when scrambling after the pocket broke down – for a team-high 56 yards (5.09 ypc). Even though he got nicked up last week, Miller says he’s healthy for tonight. … OG Preston Cross (concussion) and Tyler Atkins (neck) will miss their second consecutive game.
– Amory: Hammond said his team is balanced on offense. … In his second season at QB, Forest Williams has had to learn a new offense. Kuhn said Williams is a good passer, putting the ball in places only his receivers can catch. … Punter Jake Shelly proved he is effective in pinning the opponent deep in its own territory when he punted six times for an average of 36.50 yards – with five inside the 20-yard line and the longest of 50 yards – against Nettleton. He even made a 37-yard field goal.
Ripley (1-0)at New Albany (1-0)
– This week: In a rivalry game, a pair of 1-0 teams will take to the field at Kitchens’ Field. This is Grady McCluskey’s first Ripley-New Albany game. “I know it’s a rivalry,” the first-year Ripley coach said. “You want to play as hard as you can. You want to play your guts out.”
– Recent history: New Albany defeated Ripley last season for the first time since 2006. Prior to the Bulldogs’ 33-28 victory last August, the Tigers won 2008’s contest 27-14 and the year before’s 35-14.
–Ripley: New Albany head coach Ron Price said the Tigers like to “get physical and run right at you.” He added that the Tigers did get in spread formations a few times. … Sophomore QB Austin Hamilton returned after a knee injury last season and replaced last year’s starter Acie Vance under center. With Hamilton at QB, Ripley can run the option more and not have to worry about the lanky Vance (6-1, 168) taking a pounding. Meanwhile, Vance can take snaps as a receiver and a running back. When Vance is lined up on the outside, opposing defenses will find it difficult to box up effectively against Ripley. … OL/DL Keeton Hamilton won’t play tonight due to a broken wrist. CB John Austin Moore (broken thumb) is expected to play, while DE Isaac Bails (ankle) is a game-time decision.
– New Albany: QB Tyler Basil and WR Taylor Goode hooked up for 7 receptions for 199 yards and two scores vs. Booneville last week: a 34-yard TD and 69-yard score. “I knew where he was going to be,” Basil said about throwing to Goode last Friday. “He just trusts me, and we just trust each other. We have that chemistry.” … RB/DB Kareem Brown will play in tonight’s game. He sat out the entire second half of last Friday’s game after cramping up in the final minute of the first half. “He was out there on every play offensively and defensively in the first half,” Price said. … Look for Ripley, a running team, try to eat the clock by running the football and getting first downs, so that New Albany’s quick-scoring spread offense is limited in its possessions.
West Point (1-0) at Mainland (0-0)
– This week: As part of the Gridiron Challenge Foundation Games this weekend, Mississippi’s defending Class 5A state champion takes on a powerful Florida team. There will be several NCAA Division I prospects playing. The game can be viewed live at westpoint.k12.ms.us.
– Recent history: The two teams have never played one another.
–West Point: Even though it is going up against a tough, athletic defense, West Point will continue taking to the ground. “That’s what we’re geared for: We run the football until you force us to throw it,” said Green wave head coach Chris Chambless. … The Wave ran for 253 yards vs. Shannon last week. … RB LaKenderic Thomas served a one-game suspension last week. … West Point held Shannon to 7 total yards and 2 first downs in the first half.
– Mainland: Chambless said the Buccaneers are “not a team that sits back and throws it all the time or runs it all the time. They have a pretty balanced attack.” … Mainland’s QB Shelton Willis, who is quite effective throwing and running the ball, is a transfer student who had started two Florida state championship games at Warner Christian (South Daytona, Fla.). … Chambless said the Buccaneers have great receivers, including Cortez Davis (also a DB), a Clemson commitment who has “hands like glue.” … RB Marlin Lane is also a Clemson commitment. Chambless said that the Buccaneers will likely have a couple of other big backs who can spell Lane. … Chambless added that Mainland’s offensive line has tremendous size.
Wheeler (0-1) at Tupelo Christian Prep (0-1)
– This week: This battle of the Eagles should be more of an even matchup than both team’s season openers last week. Wheeler, with just 21 bodies, got drubbed by Walnut, 45-22. Tupelo Christian Prep, with 28 players, got blasted by another MHSAA Class 2A club, Mantachie, 48-7. “They’re a very comparable team,” TCPS head coach Aubrey Boren said of tonight’s opponent. “We’re both teams struggling to get enough bodies out. … We’re both having to play iron-man football.”
– Wheeler: If the Wheeler Eagles are to win tonight, they need to, simply put: block and tackle better. The Eagles allowed four rushing touchdowns of 40-plus yards and an 80-yard kickoff return in last week’s game. Wheeler didn’t score until the second half. … Head coach John David Horn says his team doesn’t throw the ball often. Look for RB Calebb Shinault to get most of the carries. … Horn says his team needs to put pressure on TCPS QB Will Cockrell. “If he has all day, he’ll kill us,” said the first-year Wheeler coach. “He’ll pick you apart if he has all day long back there.” … Offensive guard/defensive lineman Cody Nichols is hampered by his MCL.
– TCPS: Boren said his team needs to improve its conditioning. … TCPS had 8 players make their varsity debuts last week. … A big concern for TCPS is the center-quarterback exchange. Poor snaps grounded the Eagles’ offense against Mantachie. “We operate under the (shot-) gun 99 percent of the time,” Boren said. … After tonight’s game, there could be some changes on TCPS’ offensive line. The Eagles surrendered seven sacks to Mantachie, and the Mustangs were frequently in the Eagles’ backfield. “We gotta find the right combination,” Boren said. “Sometimes it’s chemistry among the guys there. They need to work together well and be a cohesive unit.” … Boren said his team needs to tackle better. DB Andrew Soper did have 13 tackles vs. Mantachie.