By Brandon Speck/NEMS Daily Journal
Booneville, Ripley and Belmont are all going to the playoffs. None of them know where.
Their postseason fates are dependent on Friday’s Division 1-3A regular season finales, when Alcorn Central visits Ripley and Booneville goes to Belmont.
If Booneville wins, the Blue Devils win the division. If Belmont wins – and Ripley wins – all three would have one division loss and it would come down to a confusing division points system to determine seeding. Booneville could lose and still get one of the division’s two home playoff games. And even that depends on the margin of victory.
Booneville can make it simple with a win. Belmont can make calculators necessary.
“It’s a home playoff game versus going on the road. We’ve got to look at it like that,” Booneville coach Mike Mattox said.
Mattox hasn’t gotten into all the scenarios with his players but they know the division title is a win away.
Ripley beat Belmont 35-12. Booneville beat Ripley 33-28 Thursday, but could still finish below the Tigers in the standings.
Belmont coach Kerry Moody wasn’t crunching numbers Monday. He was watching more film.
“We’re trying to win the football game. That’s our objective,” he said.
“I’m absolutely proud of the kids and the position we’re in. We have an opportunity Friday.”
The wing-T Cardinals have been led on the ground by fullback Alexander Fancher and quarterback Colin Harris.
Fancher has rushed for 1,159 yards and 20 touchdowns on 143 carries. Harris has 598 yards on 66 carries. Booneville boasts a 1,000-yard back of its own. Sophomore Zeus Rogers has 1,063 yards and 11 touchdowns on 139 carries.
“We’ve got to take care of us and concentrate on a very good ballclub and it’s hard to beat them at Belmont,” Mattox said. “You can’t just key on one person. They’re a very balanced attack.”