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No head coach wants to begin a season with a losing streak, yet that's exactly where Philip Wasson's Washington School Generals found themselves after 2010's first three games.
Matchups against Jackson Prep, River Oaks (La.) Academy, and Pillow Academy had resulted in an 0-3 start for the defending Mississippi Association of Independent Schools Class AAA-II champions, a stretch of play that could have proven to be destructive on the psyche of a young team.
Conversely, it lit a fire.
Wasson's Generals enter Friday night's game at Starkville Academy on a three-game winning streak, due much in part to his club's rough-and-tumble early-season slate.
"We had an inexperienced team and played those three hard opponents up top," said Wasson. "That really took us to where we're at right now. We're starting to click on offense and the defense is playing a little better too."
Pacing the Generals' offense is the steady hand of senior quarterback Eric Brozovich. Brozovich passed for over 1,500 yards last season, and is doing plenty of things well in this year's campaign, setting the example for Wasson's young team.
"He's won a state championship here and has been starting for three years," Wasson said of his signal caller. "He's just a very talented quarterback with a lot of game knowledge."
In fact, Wasson says the widespread respect of Brozovich's arm has actually spurned Washington's recent surge. Not because Brozovich is throwing for tons of yards, but because opponent's fear of the senior's passing game has opened up the Generals' rushing attack.
"Everybody respects (Brozovich's) arm so our running game has stepped up," said Wasson. "We've ran the ball somewhere around about 160 yards a week rushing the last three games."
While Washington's runners have stepped up in recent weeks, Wasson indicates that the result of this Friday's game may ultimately come down to how well his Generals can contain the Volunteers' own rushing system.
"They do the option well," said Wasson of SA. "All phases of that triple-option look really good. It's going to be tough. Here we are, haven't seen that type of play all year, and now we have just a week to prepare for it. We prepared for it starting (Monday) and we had guys hitting the quarterback that are supposed to hit the fullback. All the defenders want to do somebody else's job and it's real tough to stay disciplined. It's tougher (to defend) than anybody could ever think."
Washington and SA kick off Friday at 7 p.m.