FULTON – As the MHSAA football playoffs begin in Class 4A this week, a question about a state championship contender has been answered.
Itawamba AHS had questions about its offensive line entering the season. The Indians lost four offensive linemen from last year’s team, which IAHS head coach Jamie Mitchell referred to as “key, key losses for us.”
So in August, in stepped Josh Brown at center, Mack Beane at right guard, C.J. Ramirez at right tackle, Caul Coker at left guard and Brent Tull at left tackle.
After Saturday’s 21-12 win over the Daily Journal’s previously-ranked No. 1 large school, Shannon, to finish an undefeated regular season at 10-0 (5-0 in Division 1-4A), any concern about the ability of the Indians’ O-line has disappeared.
“Everybody has downplayed them,” said IAHS quarterback Maikhail Miller, “and they showed everybody who they were and they dominated today (Saturday).”
The Indians rushed for 222 rushing yards and three touchdowns against a Shannon defense that is holding teams to 12.3 points per game this season.
“I couldn’t be more proud of them,” said Mitchell, a former offensive lineman himself. “Very few of those guys have had much playing experience, and this is the first year for most of them to start.
“They have come a long, long way. They did a great job.”
Before the Indians can possibly think about finishing their season-long journey in Jackson, the site of the Class 4A state championship game, they will have to first get past Amory, which has improved greatly since its 49-7 loss to Itawamba in August.
IAHS will host Amory in a first-round playoff game on Friday night at 7. If the Indians get past the Panthers and then win their second-round playoff game, then the Indians may be headed for a matchup with Noxubee County.
Noxubee County has eliminated the Indians from the playoffs the past two seasons, but will first have to defeat New Albany in the first round in order to have shot of a quarterfinals rematch.
“Division champs, we got the high seed – it’s good,” Miller said about his Itawamba team as it prepares to enter the playoffs.
Contact John Wilbert at 678-1572 or firstname.lastname@example.org
John Wilbert/NEMS Daily Journal