Chargers can claim Class 3A, Region 4 football title

Ben Ashley
By: 
ROBBIE FAULK
Staff Writer

There was a small list of people that believed in Choctaw County just a month ago but count its coach Ben Ashley among them.

The Chargers and their first year head coach were sitting at 3-2 heading into the bye week with two tough losses against area rivals East Webster and Eupora from Class 2A. They were rewarded after their bye week with Houston, which was considered the perennial favorite in Region 4. That’s when Choctaw County staked claim that it was in it to win it when the Chargers held down the high-powering Hilltoppers and won 13-12. They’ve continued to get better offensively ever since.

“It’s gotten better every division game,” Ashley said of the offense. “Houston game we only scored 13, but we turned it over twice in the red zone. (With) Aberdeen, we finished those drives and last week we hit big plays. We’ve added some things after being strictly a Wing-T football team at the beginning of the season. Now we’ve added some triple option and the veer. We’ve got a package for this week as well.”

Now Choctaw County (6-2, 3-0) stands one win away from winning the district with two weeks to go. The Chargers blew past Aberdeen 47-16 following the Houston win and took care of Nettleton last week 62-13. Next up is South Pontotoc Friday night as they travel for their final road game of the year. The Cougars have gone from 7-0 to back-to-back losses and they’ve lost their quarterback, who had thrown for over 1,000 yards in the first nine games.

“We’re just going to go up there and try to take care of us," Ashley said. "I know that sounds cliche, but if we take care of business, we’ll be alright. South Pontotoc lost their quarterback and I hate that. I’m not sure what to expect from that position this week, but we just need to take care of our own business.”

Choctaw County leads the league in conference play with 122 total points in three games and is second only to Houston in points surrendered as it has given up just 13.6 in three league games. The Chargers have been led this year by Amerious Brown on the ground, who has 783 yards and nine touchdowns and is averaging over 11 yards per carry.

Israel Whitmore leads the team with 85 tackles and Moe Hardin and Tanner Threadgill have combined for nine sacks.

Tonight is an opportunity for Choctaw County to take over the division crown and also continue to improve playoff positioning. While the Chargers still could win the title next week, Ashley said they’re focused on getting it done now-on the road.

“I think that’s a bucket of gold and our kids are going to be prepared for it,” Ashley said. “South Pontotoc will be the most physical team we play. They’ve got their backs against the wall and will come out firing. They still have a lot on the line as well so we need to be ready.”
 
East Webster at Winona
 
It was a rough two weeks to open Class 2A, Region 2 play for East Webster, but it's hoping the off week allowed them to reset.

The Wolverines suddenly find themselves in an unfamiliar spot as they’re fighting for a playoff spot in the last two weeks. They’ll have to find a way to beat a suddenly strong Winona team and Leflore County in the final two games to seal that up.

Winona has come off two of the best wins of anyone in 2A this season when it beat Eupora and Calhoun CIty in consecutive games and are now at the top of the standings at 2-1. The 31-20 win last week over the defending Class 2A champions sent shock waves through the entire classification and put many teams on notice.

Running back D.J. Ringo is a big part of what makes Winona successful rushing for 632 yards and 10 touchdowns and quarterback Jatyler Moore has thrown for 1,288 yards, 19 touchdowns and just two interceptions. East Webster (5-3, 0-2) relies on Charlie Brand, who has 19 total touchdowns and leads the team in passing and rushing this year.
 
French Camp at Hamilton
 
Don’t look now, but here come the French Camp Panthers.

French Camp always seems to take some lumps against a tough non-conference schedule and come out better for it in Class A, Region 3. Right now, it has turned a 1-2 start with losses to Starkville Academy and Eupora into a 4-1 district record and are standing alone in second place behind the state’s second-best team in Nanih Waiya.

The Panthers have already played the Warriors and lost but picked up a huge win two weeks ago against Noxapater to gain an edge for second. They followed that up with a blowout win against Ethel and are on a three-game winning streak heading into their final road contest at Hamilton.

The Lions can start to position themselves ahead of French Camp in this key game Friday nght and they enter 3-2 this year in region play with their two losses coming at Nanih Waiya and Noxapater.
A win for the Panthers tonight has them heading back home for the last two weeks feeling really good about their playoff positioning.

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