Surprising South Pontotoc Cougars aren’t satisfied

Football stockBY BRANDON SPECK
DAILY JOURNAL

South Pontotoc has already doubled its win total from last season. But don’t think the Cougars, off to a 2-0 start, are resting on their laurels.

“We had a pretty good spring and thought we’d be improved,” South coach Roger Chism said. “Of course, we’ve got a long way to go. We’re just trying to work and get better every week.”

South has picked up wins against Hatley and at Vardaman, averaging 35 points in the early going.

But it’s the defense Chism says has played a big role thus far as well. The Cougars have allowed only 14 points.

“Our defense has put us in position. They’ve had takeaways and turnovers,” Chism said. “They’ve controlled the line of scrimmage so far, getting the ball back to us.”

Part of that improved spring was spent in a scrimmage against Mantachie, which is also off to a surprising 2-0 start. Fittingly, the Mustangs visit Springville on Friday night in a game that will wipe the zero right off someone’s record.

Mantachie has succeeded behind quarterback Dustin Carrell, who has completed 20-of-29 passes for 332 yards and six touchdowns. But a stable of backs has also rushed for 309 yards and five touchdowns to create a nice balance.

“They’re big and physical and do things really well,” Chism said. “We expect them to be hard and tough-nosed like they always are.”

Chism said the offense has its moments, but is still trying to clean up some things. Friday at Vardaman, quarterback Wesley Ross threw for 181 yards on 8-of-10 passing for a pair of touchdowns. Josh Estes also rushed for a touchdown.

Rushing yardage more than doubles passing yardage right now, but Chism knows winning when division play opens – against the likes of Louisville, Nettleton and Aberdeen – that will have to change.

“If you just run it, you’re just going to see everybody at the line of scrimmage,” he said. “We’ve got to spread people out.”

brandon.speck@journalinc.com