Two contrasting high school football teams will play in Fulton tonight.
Undefeated Lafayette County (3-0), ranked No. 3 in the Daily Journal’s large schools’ rankings, will be taking on fourth-ranked Itawamba AHS (2-0) in a non-division Class 4A matchup.
While Lafayette County and Itawamba AHS are both good teams, there are some significant differences between the two.
“We’re kind of a contrast,” said Lafayette County head coach Anthony Hart. “They’re kind of an older, more experienced group and we’re not.”
The Commodores have just five returning starters on both sides of the ball, while the Indians have 12.
“We probably return a little more experience defensively than offensively,” Hart said. “We’re still learning; we’re still making mental mistakes.
“If we make those mental mistakes, they’ll be running up and down the field.”
Running up and down the field has been a common occurrence for the Indians this season. They have scored 49 and 35 points in their two games, and feature Division I college prospects at the quarterback, running back, tight end and receiver positions.
But don’t expect the Commodores’ defense to wilt against IAHS’ offensive attack.
“The first thing that jumps out is that there is speed at every position,” said Itawamba head coach Jamie Mitchell. “They can run. They’re very disciplined in what they do and very sound scheme-wise.
“You’re not going to get them out of position very often.”
Lafayette County isn’t too shabby on offense, either, averaging 29.3 points in three games despite not having as sophisticated an offense as some. Leading the ’Dores’ offense is 6-3, 235-pound sophomore quarterback Jeremy Liggins.
“They’re one of those teams that trusts their system on both sides of the ball,” Mitchell said. “It’s not very complicated what they do.
“They do have a big, very strong quarterback, and are very sound. I think they’re probably a little underestimated up front with their offensive line. They block extremely well up front.”
Tupelo at Louisville
The Golden Wave (0-2) goes on the road looking for its first win against last season’s 3A state champion, Louisville (2-1), which is now a 4A school.
“They’ve got great skill kids who can make things happen,” Tupelo coach Eric Collins said. “We’ll have our hands full once again.”
One of the top returning Wildcats is 6-foot-5, 205-pound wide receiver Markise Triplet. The offensive line is anchored by 6-7, 290-pound Cottrell Miller.
Tupelo could be without the services of defensive end P.J. Jones, who suffered a hip pointer in last week’s loss to Itawamba AHS.
Collins refused to put a negative spin on a winless start. “You want to see improvement each week,” he said. “This is another week of experience for our young guys, which is extremely important for this group.”
Other games to watch
– Aberdeen at Amory: Look for a much sharper and more focused Aberdeen team when it takes on the winless Panthers.
– Booneville at Saltillo: Saltillo seeks to win four games for the first time since 2004.
– Corinth at Shannon: The host Red Raiders hope a week of rest will work to their benefit, not leave them rusty.
– Ripley at Pontotoc: These teams played an exciting game last season, and have been playing one another since 1934.
n South Pontotoc at North Pontotoc: South Pontotoc will try to hand its county rival its first loss of the season.
– West Point at Starkville: Starkville’s killer schedule continues, as the Yellowjackets take on the Journal’s second-ranked large school.
John Wilbert/NEMS Daily Journal