By Gene Phelps/NEMS Daily Journal
Itawamba has not talked state playoffs this week. Instead, the only subject of conversation has been today’s opponent – No. 4-ranked Northwest.
The Indians (5-3) can win the MACJC North Division and punch a first-class ticket to the postseason with a victory against the Rangers (8-0) in Senatobia.
A loss would likely leave ICC at home, unless defending state champion East Mississippi loses a home game tonight to winless Holmes.
“We are aware that this is something we can control,” ICC coach Jon Williams said. “If we win, we are definitely in. Our focus has been on being 1-0 at the end of the week.”
The task for Williams, his staff and players is to find a way to crack the Rangers’ solid shell for the first time this season.
“They are the best team we’ve played,” Williams said.
Offensively, Northwest looks to its running attack and tight end Jamal Mosley, a 6-foot-5, 260-pound transfer from Oklahoma State.
The ground game averages 207 yards per game, which is third in the league. Jay Jones is the leading rusher with 715 yards and six TDs. Mosley has caught 26 passes for 258 yards and four touchdowns.
“They don’t do anything fancy,” Williams said. “They do what they do and do it well. The tight end’s a special player. They look to get him the ball.”
Northwest’s defense is headed up by coordinator Andy Greening, the former Northeast head coach.
“They’re very solid,” Williams said. “They play assignment football. You don’t see them bust coverages.”
ICC’s offense is directed by quarterback Andy Wilson, who has passed for 1,237 yards and nine scores. One of those TD strikes in last week’s 20-17 win against Northeast went for 43 yards to All-American defensive back Darius Slay.
The Rangers can expect to see Slay lined up on offense tonight.
“We’re going to shoot all our bullets,” Williams said. “He’ll be a factor in what we do.”
– Northeast (5-3) wraps up its regular season with a home game against South Division leader Copiah-Lincoln (7-1) in Booneville.
The Tigers, with a victory, would qualify for the second playoff spot if ICC loses to Northwest and East Mississippi beats Holmes. All three teams would have two division losses, but Northeast would have the best overall record at 6-3. The other two would be 5-4.
Contact Gene Phelps at 678-1593 or firstname.lastname@example.org.