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New Albany and East Union are preparing for big games and wet weather this weekend, as both teams are on the road; the Bulldogs at Pontotoc and the Urchins at Biggersville.
The Bulldogs have worked this week after a tough overtime loss to Itawamba, and the focus turns to avenging last year’s home loss to the Warriors.
“It’s a big game. Of course we have Ripley, but our kids get just as excited about playing this game,” New Albany coach Ron Price said. “It’s always a battle into the fourth quarter, unfortunately Pontotoc has come out on top more times than we have, but we hope to change that.”
The Warriors dropped a 30-21 decision at Hernando last week, but were highlighted on offense by running back Deonte Dillworth, who rushed for 247 yards and two touchdowns.
“Their defense is extremely fast, and Dillworth is very capable of taking the ball to the end zone every time he touches it,” Price said. “He’s the fastest running back we’ve faced so far this year. He’s small, but elusive, and once he breaks into the clear, he usually outruns everyone to the end zone. Our guys will hopefully stand up to the challenge this week.”
East Union is coming off of a bye week, traveling to Biggersville, who also had last week off. The Lions are 0-1, having lost to Alcorn Central in the season opener. Head Coach Scott Duley has taken this time to allow his team to heal after its big win at Hatley and said his team is ready to hit the field once more.
“The boys are just ready to play. Two weeks is a long time in between games, so we’re ready to play,” he said. “You only have so many days that you can keep the kids focused, and it’s even tougher when you have two weeks in between games.”
Duley and his staff have spent the last two weeks breaking down film on the Lions and sees plenty of consistency to what his team saw last year.
“They’re very disciplined this year, and they do a handful of things well,” Duley said. “They’re fast on offense and faster on defense. The way we’ve gotten ready is that we looked at last year’s film two weeks ago and video from this year this week, and we’ve seen a lot of consistency in what we’ve seen. We’ve been preparing for them over the last two weeks just a little at a time, which is good, because we had a couple of guys who needed to heal up.”
Both schools are preparing for rain from Hurricane Isaac, and have opted to keep the games as scheduled.
“We’ve had the possibility of the rain with the hurricane, and we looked at moving the game, but we decided to stay with Friday, just to stay as much in a routine as we can,” Price said. “We might get wet Friday night, but both teams will have to play in the same conditions. Hopefully with our size, strength and running the football, even if it’s a rainy situation, we’ll be able to handle that.”
Said Duley, “We’ve got a plan in place whether it’s good weather or bad weather. We can ground and pound or put it in the air this year, and defensively, we can do what we need to do if it’s bad. Also, offensively, we’ve worked a lot on ball drills and not fumbling, and against Hatley, we didn’t put the ball on the ground. I think we’ll be ready.”
New Albany and Pontotoc and East Union and Biggersville are set for 7:30 p.m. kickoffs on Friday.