Cleveland Central off to fast start in first year
New year, new school, new coach no problem.
That has been the case for Cleveland Central as the Wolves are off to a 6-0 start after their 27-20 victory over Callaway Friday night to spoil the Chargers homecoming in their Region 2-5A opener.
“Really proud of our kids. A lot of obstacles have been put in their way this season, but they’ve stuck together,” said first year head coach Ricky Smither. “This is a special community with the parents, supporters and the coaches believe in these young men. Our administration is great led by principal Dr. Randy Grierson. United in Purple.”
Other wins for the Wolves are against Lafayette, Grenada, Greenwood, Rosa Fort and Clarksdale.
Cleveland Central has been very balanced on offense averaging 219.7 yards per game passing and 168.5 yards rushing.
Quarterback Kamarian Williams, whose 6-foot-9 and one the state’s top basketball prospects, has tossed for 1,005 yards with eight touchdowns.
His top target is wide receiver Peyton Taylor, whose is in his first year of playing football and is also one of the state’s top basketball prospects as a 6-foot-4 guard. Taylor has 432 yards receiving with five touchdowns.
The Wolves have a plethora of running backs to lead the running game. Larry Tyler leads the team in rushing with 308 yards with two touchdowns. Traveyon Craig, Keveon Wade and Alfred Weir all have two rushing touchdowns for Cleveland Central.
Craig also has 593 receiving yards with five touchdowns.
“Offensively, we have to be more consistent,” Smither said. “We have some really good skill guys. I think at times we sit back and wait for those guys to make a play then we decide to play.”
Defense has really carried the Wolves only allowing 12.2 points per game.
Defensive tackle Montavious Thomas leads the way with 62 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, 3 sacks and has forced two fumbles.
Linebacker Nicholas Smith leads the team in tackles with 64 and also has two interceptions.
“Defensively, our guys have been flying to the football,” Smither said. “They play fast and assignment football.”
The Wolves host Ridgeland (3-2, 1-0 Region 2-5A) on Friday.
Horn Lake makes big statement
It has been a while since the last time Horn Lake defeated powerhouse South Panola.
The Eagles used a fast start to hold on to beat the Tigers 33-21 on Friday night in their Region 1-6A opener.
The last time Horn Lake beat South Panola was 1972.
“Friday was a big win for our program and our school,” said Horn Lake coach Brad Boyette. “I’m very proud of our effort and the preparation put in.”
Horn Lake would jump out to a 19-8 halftime lead and would score 14 points in the fourth quarter to close the game out.
Offensively, the Eagles like to run the ball lead by dual-it-all quarterback Raydarious Jones and running back Tyler Grim.
“We have been able to run the ball which has set up some big plays on play action,” Boyette said. “Defensively, we’ve been able to stop our opponents from running the ball.”
Horn Lake’s defense only gives up 14.3 points per game and is led by standout junior linebacker Nakobe Dean.
The Eagles (4-0, 1-0 Region 1-6A) travels to rival DeSoto Central (3-3, 0-1) on Friday.
Blue Devils on a mission
The team with the state’s longest active winning streak has been to yet another fast start, and more positive and motivated as they are being sponsored by HOOPSBEAST.com with basketball accessories for their training to be ready for the game.
Simmons has recorded five consecutive shutouts to start the season following the Blue Devils 76-0 thumping of Montgomery County.
The Blue Devils have outscored opponents 228-0 through its first five games.
The other teams they’ve held are Coahoma AHS, West Lowndes, McAdams and Shelby Broad Street.
“Defensively we’ve been really sound. Our guys have bought in and stick to their assignments,” said Simmons first year coach Wade Tackett. “Our depth has helped a lot. We play a lot of guys who can contribute.”
Linebacker Amos Robinson leads the way for Simmons with 29 tackles, two forced fumbles and an interception. Robinson also had four touchdown receptions as a tight end.
Tyus Levy and Tyrenn Altman have four sacks each for the Blue Devils.
Offensively, Simmons is led by running back Marquez Pam.
Pam has rushed for 716 yards with 11 touchdowns. Running back Demarrius Turner has also rushed for 336 yards with seven touchdowns.
Quarterback Tyderius Gipson has tossed for 400 yards with seven touchdowns.
“Offensively we just continue to get better each week with assignments and execution,” Tacket said. “If can keep getting better and do what we need to do we will be fine.”
The Blue Devils (5-0, 3-0 Region 2-1A) have the state’s longest active winning streak at 30 games and will host Shaw (3-2, 2-1) Friday.
Eyes on Eupora
If you’ve read the last two weeks of the Ten Games to Watch Eupora was picked to lose both times.
Well they’ve made folks eat their words.
Eagles are off a 5-1 start and have picked two big wins over the last two weeks over Choctaw County and Charleston.
“We have played some quality opponents and are very fortunate to be 5-1,” said Eupora coach Stephen Edwards. “Our kids are playing with passion and that’s definitely helped win a couple of close games.”
Eupora offensively is balanced with a running game that is averaging 177 yards per game and 134 yards passing.
Rushing is led by Edwin Herard (313 yards, 4 touchdowns) and Preston Perkins who has 225 yards with three touchdowns.
Quarterback Tanner Knight has tossed for 665 yards with nine touchdowns.
“Offensively we’ve mixed in run and passed so that helps. Friday against Charleston it worked with their run stopping defense, so we threw the ball more,” Edwards said. “We’ve had three or four backs step up on different nights.”
Eagles are led by a fierce defense that is only given up 10.6 points per game. Herard has a team high 61 tackles and defensive back Ash Dumas (30 tackles, 2 interceptions).
“Defensively is no secret. Line up right, know your responsibility and fly to the football,” Edwards said. “Our kids have done that most of the time.”
Eupora opens Region 2-2A play this Friday against rival East Webster (5-1) in the annual Maroon Bowl.
Last Second Thrillers
This past Friday was filled with thrillers, especially in South Mississippi.
The one big one was Carson Lindsey hitting a 39-yard field as time expire to lift MRA past St. Stanislaus 31-28.
“We ran the football really well,” said MRA coach Herbert Davis. “Really nice job throwing the ball when we had to and was able to execute on the last drive.”
QB Pierce Smith had 162 yards passing and Lee Tanner 10 catches for 152 yards to lead the Patriots (5-1).
Chade Ganey would hit a 20-yard field goal eight seconds to give Biloxi its first win over the season in a 26-23 win over D’Iberville in Region 4-6A opener.
After a Keon Moore scored on a 1-yard touchdown run on fourth down Harrison Central would turn a botch snap on a PAT into a game winning two-point conversion when K.J. Means hit J.D. Dillion to lift the Red Rebels past Pascagoula 29-27 in overtime.