By Blake Long/Special to the Journal
A young Tupelo High football team has an opportunity today to continue its learning curve by experiencing the thrill of making the postseason.
The Golden Wave close regular season and Division 1-6A play with a 7 p.m. contest at Olive Branch that includes playoff implications for THS.
“There were a lot of growing pains going into the season and we’re still getting there,” Tupelo coach David Bradberry said. “All you can ask for is an opportunity.”
However, that opportunity relies on more than just a Golden Wave victory. Tupelo needs Grenada to defeat Columbus in order to force a three-way tie for the fourth and final playoff seed from this division.
The Wave would win the point differential tiebreaker over Columbus in that scenario and, with its head-to-head victory over Grenada, advance to a first-round game at Madison Central.
A Columbus victory, though, ruins any hope Tupelo has of extending its season another week.
But for now, the Golden Wave (4-6, 2-4) must focus on the immediate task at hand, which is to upset the defending 6A state champion.
Seeking that ‘W’
“There’s nothing else we can control,” Bradberry said. “We’re in this position now and we have to get a W.”
Olive Branch (9-1, 5-1) has already wrapped up a home playoff game as the division runner-up.
While the Conquistadors have nothing big to gain in tonight’s contest, save a win on senior night, Bradberry expects no let up from the state’s No. 5-ranked team.
“I don’t look for anything other than their best shot,” he said. “They have a lot of firepower and they’re used to playing in big games.”
QBSamuel Craft leads Olive Branch with 11 touchdowns and nearly 1,400 yards passing.
Craft faces a dangerous Tupelo defense that consistently forces turnovers. The Wave gathered three in their win over Horn Lake last week, including a pick-six by James Gilleylen.