By Brandon Speck
The Booneville Blue Devils passed their first rivalry test with a Skunk Bowl win against Baldwyn. They had last week off before this week’s short drive to Corinth to take on another rival, the Corinth Warriors.
“They’re the best team we’ve played, by far one of the better teams on our schedule,” Boone-ville coach Mike Mattox said. “Defensively they’re small and quick and fly to the football. They play with great effort. Offensively they’re big up front. (Quarterback Antares Gwyn) can make things happen and they’ve got four good running backs. You can’t key on just one of them.”
Corinth (2-1) moved receiver Brice Spence to the backfield in a win at Lewisburg last week. He had 96 yards and two touchdowns. Seven players had rushes, a 267-yard total after gaining 63 against Lafayette.
Corinth coach Doug Jones said it was a move to get the run game going.
“I felt like we were in a bind against Lafayette (28-12 loss) and they never had to do anything different to stop us,” Jones said. “Either way, most state champions, 98 percent of them, can run the ball. That holds true in the regular season, too.”
The Warriors saw some of their early turnover bug go away last week, but still lost the ball on their opening two possessions. Booneville (2-0) lost six in last season’s 22-16 loss against the Warriors in Booneville. Corinth had to overcome a big turnover in the win, too.
Jones said Corinth sees the game just as Booneville sees it, a rivalry.
“We do view it that way. This year it’s a little bit different. They’re ranked higher than us,” Jones said.
Booneville comes in as the Journal’s No. 2 Class 4A/3A school. Corinth is unranked. Booneville has gotten what it expected from guys like quarterback Jack Simpson and do-it-all Andrew Lambert. But there have also been pleasant surprises from guys like lineman Tyler Floyd, Hunter Henley with three interceptions and young backs James Christian and Elijah Tate. Linebacker Kirk Hickman hardly comes off the field and defensive back Ben McCutchen has performed well through two games.
“We’ve had some kids step up,” Mattox said. “We knew they could, just didn’t expect it so early.”