By Brandon Speck/NEMS Daily Journal
Much of the state has handed the MHSAA Class 4A championship to Noxubee County.
The Tigers have to win five more games to make it a reality. The first team with a shot to keep that from happening is Shannon.
Red Raiders coach Darryl Carter was preparing to watch film on his first-round playoff opponent Sunday but he already knows exactly what he’s getting into. Carter was the head coach at Kemper County last season when his team had the Tigers at 18-all in the fourth quarter before losing 42-18.
“Coach (Tyrone) Shorter does a great job and they’re blessed with a lot of athletes,” Carter said. “We won’t beat anybody being inconsistent as we’ve been the whole year. If we’ll put it together, I’d put us against anybody.”
Shannon’s record isn’t sparkling, 3-7. Noxubee is 11-0, loaded with prospects and has outscored opponents 416-86.
Darrell Robinson leads a run-heavy team with 1,408 yards and 26 touchdowns. He averages more than nine yards a carry.
Robinson is one of three Tigers selected for the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Classic in December, along with defensive lineman Dylan Bradley and linebacker Antonio Ryland.
“We haven’t played anybody that looks like them as far as all around. Lafayette would be the closest,” Carter said. “We’ve got Itawamba in our division but they don’t stack up to those guys.”
Lafayette beat Shannon 44-25. Shannon will try to spread it out as much as possible but expect 1,500-yard sophomore running back Diamate Pounds to carry a heavy load. Pounds has scored 12 of Shannon’s 29 rushing touchdowns. The Red Raiders use a two-quarterback system and like to keep it balanced between air and ground.
“At the end of the day, I’m very disappointed (in our inconsistency) but very happy to be in the playoffs,” Carter said. “Not just to be in, I think if we do what we’re supposed to do, we’ve got an opportunity. The main thing for us is to limit our mistakes and be consistent.”