By David Wheeler
Special to the Journal
MADISON – Do not overthink the successful ride the Tupelo Golden Wave football team has been on this season.
Namely the 11-1 record and a berth in the second round of the Class 6A playoffs.
But that ride could be a bit bumpy today as the Wave face a longtime football roadblock in the Madison Central Jaguars. Tupelo is at Madison Central for a 7 p.m. kickoff.
“Another week and we’re the underdog,” Tupelo head coach Trent Hammond said. “We’ll just have to stay as mistake-free as possible.”
Tupelo currently has a three-game losing streak to the Jaguars (9-3), including two forgettable playoff loses in 2010-11. Tupelo last defeated Madison Central in a regular season contest in 2007.
“Most of the seniors talk about that 2011 game, and getting revenge,” said senior inside linebacker Ashton Wedel, who was a sophomore in 2011 when Central defeated the Wave 38-21. “There’s a lot of hype for this game, but we need to keep doing what we’ve done all season, and stay focused.”
Focusing on each game week-by-week has helped Tupelo to allow only 10 points per game to opposition squads. Offensively, Tupelo senior Quinn Tiggs leads the Wave in rushing with 1,179 yards and receiving at 510 yards, while sophomore quarterback Daniel Bristow has completed 63 per cent of his passes for 1,427 yards.
Teams opposing the Wave defense are perhaps starting to realize that it is tough playing them straight-up, with the last three games featuring trick plays by the opposition. In Tupelo’s 20-17 victory last week, Warren Central tried both a fake punt and fake field goal.
“We’ve got to get where we handle those things, too,” Hammond said.
Madison Central is coming off a 35-13 win over DeSoto Central.
The Jaguars’ Keenan Barnes has 1,161 yards receiving from quarterback Joseph Willis, who has thrown for 2,324 yards.