Special to the Journal
FULTON – Apparently, Jon Williams does not need the opportunity for a playoff spot to look forward to his Itawamba Indians upcoming football game.
“Regardless of the reason, this is a big game for both programs,” said Williams, the ICC head football coach. “But a chance for the playoffs magnifies the rivalry even more so than usual.”
The rivalry is Itawamba versus Northeast, the region’s premier community college football pairing. The rivalry is renewed at 7 p.m. today when Williams’ Indians host the Tigers.
The teams are tied for second place in the MACJC North Division. A victory tonight by either Itawamba (5-2, 3-1) or Northeast (3-4, 3-1) gives the winning team an absolute edge for a postseason berth.
“The way I understand it, the winner of this game is at least No. 2,” Williams said. “If we win out, we could be No. 1, but the biggest thing we’re worried about is Thursday.”
Williams has reason to worry about his Indians, who come into this game on a two-game losing streak. Most recently, ICC lost a 47-41 double-overtime game Saturday to Coahoma.
“This is usually a hard-fought game,” Williams said. “Like I told the team, regardless of our record, this is your rival.”
ICC sophomore quarterback Griff Loftis, from Mooreville, is averaging 222 yards passing per game while linebacker C. J. Jackson(Water Valley) leads the defense with 7.6 tackles.
“I’m anxious to see how our defense responds after a rough couple of weeks,” Williams said. “Of course, we all have a bitter taste in our mouth.
“Against Coahoma, I liked the way the offense answered the call when necessary. And our special teams turned it up a notch.”
Last year, ICC beat Northeast 36-15 in Booneville.