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Bogue Chitto heads to Taylorsville for Round 1 — Bobcats must stop 3,000-yard passing game to advance

The Bogue Chitto Bobcats are headed to Taylorsville tonight, where one of the best teams in the state awaits in Round One of the 2A playoffs.

The Bobcats (5-5, 1-3) slid into the fourth playoff position in Region 7-2A after head-butting Enterprise last week, but now they’ll face their biggest test of the season in the Tartars (10-1, 1-3), the No. 1 seed in 2A.

“The kids are excited about making the playoffs and focusing on what we have to do,” said Bogue Chitto coach Gareth Sartin. “It will be exciting and challenging to go over there and play them at their place.”

In order to walk out of Taylorsville with a victory, the Bobcats are going to have to slow down the Tartar’s massive offense, which has accumulated almost 5,000 total yards and more than 50 touchdowns so far in 2017.

Taylorsville’s freshman quarterback, Ty Keyes, is a 65 percent passer, having thrown for more than 3,000 yards and 28 touchdowns, hitting an impressive 276 yards per game. He’s got four wide receivers at or above 500 yards each. His leading receiver — his cousin, Perry Keyes — is just shy of the 1,000-yard club and is by far the leading target.

The Tartars also have five runners with more than 300 yards each, including the quarterback. Leading man Tycarius Roberts, a senior, has 445 yards rushing and five scores, averaging 8.6 yards per carry.

There are no tricks to stop that kind of offensive firepower. It will take old-fashioned discipline to slow Taylorsville down, Sartin said.

“We just have to do a good job of wrapping up and making tackles, and making sure we’re in position to make the plays we need to execute,” he said.

Bogue Chitto will rely on its leading tacklers, senior Tanner Gunther and junior Damarcus Godbolt, who have combined for 156 tackles this season. Juniors Darius Porter and Jermaine Black have 108 more tackles between them.

On offense, Bogue Chitto has rushed for more than 1,700 yards as a team thanks to a good season by its offensive line. Sartin praised his workaholics up front — freshman David McKinney, senior Eli Wallace, freshman Davis Hart, junior Chris Cutrer and senior Aiden Greer have been at the heart of every Bogue Chitto success in 2017.

They’ll need to continue their high-level play against a Taylorsville defense Sartin says is large, athletic and aggressive.

Sartin plans to use the speed of his often-outsized Bobcats to beat Taylorsville to the point of attack and, hopefully, throw their defensive machine off balance.

“We will try to do a little misdirection to take advantage of our speed, and from there it’s just executing and taking care of the football,” he said.

The Bobcats play at Taylorsville tonight at 7 p.m. If they are victorious, they will meet either Perryville or St. Joseph Catholic in Round Two next week.