Currently experiencing a five-game win streak in a season where they have only one loss, it would be easy for the West Oktibbeha Timberwolves to start getting comfortable, but coach Adam Lowrey knows that if they want to extend the season, they can not let off the gas anytime soon.
In what is certain to be an electric Class A, Region 3 matchup, the Timberwolves and East Oktibbeha Titans are set to kickoff at 7 p.m. in Crawford.
“I never take any game lightly, but with rivalries, the playing field changes,” Lowrey said. “In these games, all bets are off. Records don’t matter. What you have going that season doesn’t matter.”
Lowrey also knows that if West Oktibbeha wants to win, his players have to be on top of their game. That's an importance he has stressed to them throughout preparations this week.
“Our guys are pumped up to beat them,” Lowrey said. “They know what this game means and they are excited to get out there and play. On the other hand, East Oktibbeha is just as pumped. They are hungry for the win, so we have to be on top of our game at all times.”
East Oktibbeha coach Randy Brooks echoes Lowrey on the importance of this game and knows that his team has to be at its best if the Titans want to win.
“West Oktibbeha is well-coached this season,” Brooks said. “They are good both passing and running, you can not win seven games without being strong in all areas. Our guys are young, but we are ready to play (tonight).”
West Oktibbeha (7-1, 5-0) is looking to continue its win streak after a 44-8 victory over West Lowndes last week, while East Oktibbeha (2-6, 1-4) is looking to rebound after their 56-16 loss at the hands of Pelahatchie.
In other area matchups for week nine, East Webster travels to Hamilton, Eupora heads south to face Williams Sullivan, Ackerman pays J.Z. George a visit and Hebron Christian hosts Humphrey’s Academy. All games are set for 7 p.m., except for a scheduled 7:30 p.m. matchup at Hebron.
East Webster (7-2, 2-1) at Hamilton (4-5, 2-1)
The Wolverines take to the road to face Hamilton after beating Williams Sullivan 47-6.
With only two losses this season, East Webster knows what it takes to succeed. The Wolverines also know this game will be a challenge that it is going to take focus and determination to win.
"This is going to be our biggest game of the year,” East Webster coach Doug Wilson said. “Anytime you go to Hamilton, it’s tough. They are a good team with one of the best running backs we will see.”
Eupora (8-1, 3-0) at Williams Sullivan (2-7, 0-3)
Led by 6-3, 175-pound senior wide receiver Derrick Jones, who was recently selected for the Mississippi-Alabama All-Star Classic, the Eagles travel to Durant to face Williams Sullivan.
“Derrick is big and tall with great hands,” said Eupora coach Junior Graham. “Having him has been a great value to the team and you can't ask for more in a player.”
Eupora is coming off a close 22-18 victory over region foe Ackerman. The Eagles hope to repeat last season's matchup, which saw the team take a 47-0 victory.
“Williams Sullivan is very athletic on both sides of the ball,” Graham said. “The key to winning will be to avoid the big play defensively.”
Ackerman (6-3, 2-1) at J.Z. George (2-7, 0-3)
Ackerman is looking to rebound from a 22-18 loss to Eupora as the Indians travel to North Carrollton tonight.
“J.Z. George is one of those teams you have to always be aware of,” Ackerman coach Adam Dillinger said. “They are real athletic and are constantly improving. We need to play our game to get through it. Our players are coming off of a tough loss, so they are ready to bounce back.”
The Indians are hoping that history will repeat itself, as last season saw Ackerman shut out the Eagles 35-0.
Humphrey’s Academy (6-2) at Hebron Christian (8-1)
In a late schedule addition, Humphrey’s Academy travels to Pheba to take on the Eagles. Hebron Christian is coming off its only loss of the season to this point at the hands of Calhoun Academy 40-12.