Playoffs begin early for Saltillo

By Brandon Speck/NEMS Daily Journal

Saltillo’s scenario is simple. Win and keep playing. Lose and hit the gym.
The Tigers will visit Lake Cormorant on Friday night for their final regular season game with a playoff spot in the balance.
Saltillo (6-4, 3-3) can finish either third or fourth in Division 1-5A with a win and be on the road in a playoff opener next week. Tigers coach Pat Byrd is treating this game like a playoff game.
“No doubt, it’s win or go home,” he said.
Lake Cormorant (6-4, 3-3) quarterback Brett Thompson spreads out opposing defenses. He threw three touchdown passes and ran in another last week against Clarksdale.
Thompson has a key deep threat in Ryan Golden.
Byrd said Cormorant’s offense reminds him of Shannon’s, back when he was Amory’s defensive coordinator. A former Shannon standout receiver, Jamie Armstrong, is the Gators’ offensive coordinator.
“They’re always athletic, especially on defense and they spread you, kind of like watching Shannon in the ‘90s,” Byrd said. “Golden is really good, they have a big quarterback who can throw it.”
Byrd said his defense will have to mix coverages in an effort to confuse Thompson, who makes a lot of pre-snap reads.
on the rise
The Tigers haven’t made the playoffs in eight seasons but may have already surpassed expectations.
QB Andrew Soper has rushed for 919 yards and 10 touchdowns and thrown for more than 1,300 yards.
A.J. Hunt has been his biggest target with 774 yards and 11 touchdowns. The Tigers scored 21 third-quarter points last week to beat Hernando and keep their playoff hopes alive.
“We had so many coming back, we thought we’d have an opportunity if we stayed healthy,” Byrd said. “I feel like we left one or two on the table, but we’re where we are and we’re going to try and play one more.”
brandon.speck@journalinc.com