The first thing Oxford coach Johnny Hill said about his promising Chargers this season: “We’re small, but slow.”
Friday with the MHSAA Class 5A North title on the line, Hill’s Chargers will face the opposite when they host Callaway.
“They’re real big where they need to be big. They’re real fast where they need to be fast,” Hill said.
There is more similarity than both sharing a nickname. Both teams of Chargers are 13-0. Oxford spent all season atop the Journal’s Large School rankings.
Callaway boasts four of the best players in Mississippi, including the top one in OG Rod Taylor. ESPN rates receiver Dayall Harris the No. 8 player in the state, DT Breeland Speaks No. 10 and OLB Ronald Walker No. 15. All four are committed to Ole Miss.
That’s all on paper. On the field, Callaway has rushed three backs and has done so for nearly 300 yards per game. Carlos Ransburgh and Kendrick Catchings have nearly evenly split 1,960 yards and 26 touchdowns. TJ Washington brings 763 yards and eight touchdowns to Oxford.
“They’re recruited by Ole Miss for a reason,” Hill said. “They’re good on special teams, good on defense and almost unstoppable on offense.”
Oxford is young, but has recruits of its own. DE Darrius Liggins is a Mississippi State commit and sophomore receiver DK Metcalf is an Ole Miss commit. ESPN has kicker Cody Mills right behind Liggins as Mississippi’s No. 36 and 37th best prospects, respectively.
The Chargers also have players that are quickly making their way to those lists. Sophomore quarterback Jack Abraham crossed the 3,000-yard mark last week and has thrown for 3,036 yards and 35 touchdowns. Sophomore back Kenzie Phillips is 16 yards shy of 1,500 and has 19 rushing tochdowns for a balanced attack.
Junior LB Mike McGee leads Oxford with 119 tackles.
Oxford hasn’t scored fewer than 30 points all season. That 30-point output came against North 4A finalists Lafayette – in a shutout.
“They’re young, but I think they’ll be up for the challenge,” Hill said of his squad.