West Oktibbeha, Cathedral could light scoreboard
West Oktibbeha quarterback Von Smith prepares to throw a pass. (Photo by Lee Adams, SDN)
By JOEL COLEMAN
How high can the scoreboard go?
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That question may very well get answered tonight as two of the best offenses in Class A get together when West Oktibbeha travels to Natchez for a 7 p.m., first-round playoff game against Cathedral.
"They execute at a very high level," said West Oktibbeha head coach Adam Lowrey of Cathedral. "They've got about six receivers who can catch pretty good and run pretty good. They've got a highly experienced quarterback. They don't do anything special, but what they do, they're very good at. Very seldom do they make a lot of mistakes."
Cathedral (10-1) enters the playoffs as the Region 4 champion and is the top-scoring team in all of Class A football.
The Green Wave have scored 497 total points this season, an average of more than 45 per game.
Lowrey says Cathedral can score in a variety of different ways, though the Green Wave's preference is through the air.
"They'd rather throw the ball than run it," said Lowrey. "They've thrown for over 3,400 yards, but they have a 1,000-yard rusher already, too."
Cathedral's tendency to pile up the points is similar in a lot of ways to a team Lowrey is very familiar with â€“ his own.
Lowrey's Timberwolves (7-4), the Region 3 No. 4 seed, are averaging 34 points per game this season themselves, also relying heavily on the passing game.
"A friend of mine asked me who (Cathedral) most resembles from our district and I told him us," said Lowrey. "That said, I feel like we match up well against them. Our boys are all excited about playing in the playoffs and playing against Cathedral. They want to play against them. My boys are excited about being able to run and catch and play defense."
If tonight's game turns into the shootout many expect, the Timberwolves have recent experience in such a battle.
Last week, West Oktibbeha narrowly fell to Pelahatchie 42-40 in the regular-season finale, perhaps giving the Timberwolves a bit of a feel for what tonight may have in store.
"It's going to be something similar to last week," said Lowrey. "Whoever has the ball in the end will win. Whoever overcomes the turnover battle will win. If all that goes in our favor, we'll be playing again next week. If not, then I'll be highly proud of what we've accomplished this year and grateful for how the Lord brought us this far."
Whoever wins tonight's matchup will advance to a second-round game next week against either Bogue Chitto or Nanih Waiya.
Lowrey, like any coach, hopes his club will be the one to keep playing beyond tonight, but he understands the hill his squad must climb.
"We're still a No. 4 team playing a No. 1 team," said Lowrey. "So we'll have to have a couple of breaks go our way and just see how it all turns out."