East Webster coach Jimmy Carden calls his backfield tandem of 260-pound fullback Timakis Bell and tailback Demetrius O’Briant a “good combo.”
The speedy O’Briant has rushed for 1,355 yards and 15 touchdowns. The bruising Bell has motored for 1,165 yards and 16 touchdowns.
Calhoun City coach Perry Liles, who has spent this week watching tape of East Webster, his team’s opponent in the quarterfinals of the 2A state playoffs, believes you can add a third element to the Wolverines’ offensive attack – quarterback Ledrick Patterson.
“He makes them click,” Liles said. “He runs the option as well as anybody I’ve seen.”
Patterson, who operates the option game out of a Power I set, has rushed for 871 yards, passed for 568 and accounted for 27 touchdowns – 14 on the ground.
“Eupora was able to hold them to 27 points,” Liles said. “The most we’ve given up is 21. Something has to give.”
Calhoun City (13-0) and East Webster (13-0) kick off at 7 p.m. Friday in Calhoun City. The winner advances to the state semifinals to play Coahoma County or West Bolivar.
The homestanding Wildcats have an offensive threat of their own in senior quarterback J.R. Jennings, a four-year starter. He has completed 140 of 191 passes for 2,299 yards, 27 touchdowns and only five interceptions. He has rushed for 316 yards and five scores.
Demarius Howard has caught 57 of Jennings’ aerials for 961 yards and 11 touchdowns.
“I like his leadership,” East Webster’s Carden said of Jennings. “He sees the field really well and has the ability to make something out of nothing.”
Liles admits that it’s a plus to have an experienced, talented quarterback.
“(Jennings) controls the game on that side of the ball,” he said. “He has the ability to turn a broken play into a touchdown. He can run, but he also runs around to get time to throw it.”
Calhoun City rolled over Hamilton (40-3) and Simmons (48-6) to reach this point. East Webster defeated JFK (38-12) and Bruce (35-20) in the opening two rounds.
East Webster hosted and defeated Calhoun City 28-14 last season in the second round of the playoffs.
“I’m glad the game’s here because it’s tough to beat them there,” Liles said.
Gene Phelps/NEMS Daily Journal