By David Wheeler
Special to the Journal
TUPELO – Yes, there is football after South Panola.
Win or lose last week, there was still plenty of football left to plan for in the 2013 season for the Tupelo Golden Wave.
Coming off its respect-building 14-8 loss to South Panola last week, the Wave finds itself in another key Division 1-6A contest today, hosting the DeSoto Central Jaguars in a 7 p.m. kickoff.
Tupelo (7-1, 3-1) and DeSoto Central (6-3, 3-1) are two of three teams tied for second place in the division, along with Grenada. Central is only one of two teams in the division that can win the remainder of its games and claim the division title.
“We’re preparing like we have all season,” Tupelo coach Trent Hammond said. “The scary thing is, you don’t know how 16- and 17-year-old players are going to react after that kind of loss.
“But we’ve had some good practices this week.”
Not used to the big-game spotlight, the Wave more than held its own against the defending Class 6A and 10-time state champion Tigers. The Wave also left the field wanting more.
“There are several things we didn’t do right, offensively and defensively,” Hammond said. “If we had done those things, there might have been a different outcome.
“But I thought our kids took another step, showed themselves to be a team that never gives up.”
Now Hammond must turn the attention of the Golden Wave to DeSoto Central.
“They’re a big team, and execute extremely well,” Hammond said. “They run the spread, but their offensive line is big.
“Defensively, we’ve got to be solid. Offensively, we’ve got to be smart.”
DeSoto Central comes into this contest off a 21-20 victory against Hernando. The Jaguars have four common opponents with the Wave, going 1-3 against those four, including losses to Saltillo and Lafayette.
The Jaguars’ statement win of the season was a 27-21 victory against Olive Branch on Oct. 11.