Sleeper schools come up short in week 4
It would have been great to be able to write this column after a weekend where it all went according to plan. I would have loved to start it off by talking about how every team I picked to win last Friday did just that. The opportunity to talk about how my sleeper teams Wesson and Loyd Star defied the odds was all I wanted for today’s column.
But, as fate would have it, that is not the case. Loyd Star and Wesson, along with Enterprise and Bogue Chitto, all teams I picked to win last week, lost their games. So, thanks to a mediocre display last week of picking games and a bet I was certain I would win, I now owe a co-worker lunch.
It is indeed an unfortunate turn of events, not only for my wallet but for the teams that took said losses as well. But, as I have said there is much to be learned after every game, maybe even more so in defeat.
But first, it is proper to give the deserved credit to the area teams who were able to come out on top in their contests.
The Brookhaven Panthers, also a team I had picked to win, took care of business in a big way in McComb with a 41-14 victory over the Tigers. They posted 342 yards of offense, 223 on the ground, and their defense pressured the Tigers’ quarterback most of the night.
Led by seven tackles and a sack by Direyun McNair, the Ole Brook defense had two fumble recoveries and sacks and kept a McComb offense that had been scoring at will in check.
They are now 3-1 on the season with their only loss coming to a tough Northwest Rankin team. The Panthers started last season with six losses but they are far from the team they were last season.
Sevante Quinn has command of the offense, Demarrell Leggett, Kenneth Dixon, John Hilbert and Zarian Harper are becoming serious threats and the defense is lights out most of the time. With district play beginning next week against South Jones, the solid start will be a great confidence booster for head coach Tommy Clopton’s young team.
Also, kudos to West Lincoln head coach Charlie Jackson and the Bears. They got their first win of the season on the road with a 40-6 victory over the Bogue Chitto Bobcats. The Bears’ offense finally seemed to get it together after being plagued with errors and injuries. Nathanael Addison and Primetime 23 wide receiver Chase Owen and company will have a tough test this week against Pass Christian, but it has to be comforting heading into that game with a solid offensive performance.
Brookhaven Academy may have lost their game to Cathedral last week, but it is important to consider their 34-20 loss on a bigger level. The Cougars are on an 18-game losing streak and just hired a new coach in Ron Rushing.
With Coach Rushing at the helm, I firmly believe the Cougars will return to the dominant team they once were. However, everything takes time and last week was a good step in the right direction.
Rushing’s plan when he arrived was to attack opposing defenses through the air and his team put on its sharpest display of the year against a tough Green Wave team.
Quarterback Madison Smith threw for 136 yards and a touchdown on the way to leading the Cougars to their highest scoring output of the year.
Smith has to ease up on the turnovers, but the offense seems to be on the right track.
As for my sleeper teams, I still remain confident. Wesson should bounce back this week against Raymond on the road. They put up plenty of points in the loss against Seminary, but they gave away plenty as well. The defense has a good deal of youth in the secondary, but there is potential. If they can win at least two district games they could sneak into the playoffs.
Loyd Star lost the game of the week in blowout fashion to Franklin County last week, but I look for them to right the ship against Scott Central at home. To do that, they will have to re-establish the running game with Parker Flowers and Zac Arnold.
Hopefully, everything will go just as it as detailed above and I won’t owe yet another co-worker another lunch.
Anthony McDougle is the sports editor for The Daily Leader. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.