Mooreville Troopers trying to be better than average

Mooreville has averaged three victories a season in football the last five years.
The 2010 Troopers have a chance to give a boost to that not-so-impressive statistic this week. They are 3-0 heading into Friday night’s road game at Falkner.
“There’s more excitement in the community and the school than there has been in a long time,” said Mooreville fourth-year coach Kevin Austin, whose team finished 6-5 last season. “The whole community’s ready to do something in football.
“We want to run with this success. We’ve got some pretty good players.”
One of those players is junior quarterback Griff Loftis, who passed for three touchdowns in last week’s 40-19 victory against rival Mantachie.
Loftis, a three-year starter, likes the direction the program is headed. He also likes the positive feedback he and his teammates are receiving at school.
“It’s been different,” he said. “People don’t usually get excited about football at Mooreville, but I like the change.”
Loftis credits his offensive line, running backs and sure-handed receivers for the Troopers’ success moving the ball and scoring points. Mooreville’s averaged 35 points in three games, including its 47-0 win against Strayhorn two weeks ago.
Sophomore running back Josh Johnson had a breakout game in the win against Mantachie when he rushed for 160 yards and scored three touchdowns.
“He’s played great,” Loftis said. “Our offensive line has helped us move the ball. When you can do that it opens up your passing game.
“Our receivers have done really well. They are sucking in everything around them.”
Austin wouldn’t mind seeing his team take a 6-0 record into division play next month. The Troopers, 1-4 a year ago in the division, have league games against South Pontotoc, Winona, Aberdeen, Nettleton and Water Valley.
“We’ve had enough athletes to beat the teams we’ve been playing,” the coach said. “Aberdeen, Winona and some of the folks we play are tough to play against. When we’ve played top level competition in the past, we’ve struggled.
“We’ve got to keep working hard. Instead of trying to keep our players grounded, we want them to stay hungry.”
At the same time, Austin has warned his players about the potholes between now and division play. Following the trip to Falkner (1-2), there are games against Alcorn Central (0-3) and Kossuth (1-2).
“We also have to remind them that anybody can be beat,” he said.

Contact Gene Phelps at 678-1593 or gene.phelps@djournal.com.

Friday’s Lee County football games
All kickoffs 7:30 p.m.
Home Games
Louisville at Tupelo
O’Bannon at TCPS
Road Games
Mooreville at Falkner
Shannon at Corinth
Saltillo at Booneville

Gene Phelps/NEMS Daily Journal