The number 4 next to Richton's name isn't fooling anybody at Union High School.
When the Rebels visit tonight at 7 for a Class 2A first-round playoff game, the Yellowjackets are very aware the challenge facing them. Despite entering the state playoffs as that No. 4 seed from Division 8-2A and on a three-game losing streak, Richton is still 8-3 and very dangerous.
“They are not your typical four seed, far from it,” Union coach Brad Breland said. “They are going to be a very tough first-round opponent. They are a quality football team.”
That quality showed early as the Rebels won their first eight games before a close loss to Lumberton and then lopsided setbacks to powers Bassfield and East Marion. During that opening streak, Richton – which went 3-8 last season – edged Lake 26-23 and beat Clarkdale 20-3. Union beat Clarkdale 36-12 and held off the Hornets 8-7 to win Division 5-2A.
“We know they beat Lake on a late score early in the season, so we've got a measuring stick,” Breland said.. “They won late and we were very fortunate to win that game.
“Our kids know that Lake is a quality opponent and Richton will be too if they were able to beat them.”
The Rebels' drastic turnaround from last year's struggles to this year's successes starts with junior quarterback Jacob Finley. The transfer has completed 54. percent of his passes for 974 yards and 11 touchdowns while rushing for 395 more with nine touchdowns. The Rebels are led by Bennie Hinton's 741 yards on the ground. Dylan Stringer, who played quarterback last season for Richton, has moved to wide receiver with Finley's presence and has provided a big-play threat with 446 yards and six touchdowns on a team-high 24 catches.
“He's a big quarterback and he's been able to come in and allow them to move some guys to other places and get another player on offense,” Breland said. “We've got to play good defense and find a way to slow down their passing game.
“We need to get pressure on the quarterback.”
The Yellowjackets, who are 9-2, are looking forward to the return of their own standout quarterback Jesse Gill, who was hurt last week in the regular season finale against Scott Central after scoring two touchdowns. Tre Bogan replaced Gill at quarterback and also scored a defensive touchdown, but Gill is expected back this week.
“We're playing pretty well,” Breland said. “We struggled some last week with a couple key guys hurt and banged up.
“We're going to need to be able to hold on to the football and score some points.”
Yellowjackets wary of fourth-seeded Rebels
For the Newton County Cougars, their final game of the season couldn’t be bigger: state title or bust.
They forced a Game 3 in the Class 4A championship series with a 2-1 win over Lewisburg in 10 innings on Thursday night at Trustmark Park.
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After being shutout less than 24 hours earlier, the Newton County Cougars used a 10-inning affair to force a Game 3 in the Class 4A championship series, topping Lewisburg, 2-1, in Game 2 at Trustmark Park.
Hollins focused on Spurs, not his contract
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Slive focused on future after big changes
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He's relaxed and feeling awfully good about the state of the Southeastern Conference.
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’Bama bounces Ole Miss from SEC Tourney
For the second day in a row, the Rebels went into extra-innings but were unable to emerge with the victory as No. 21 Ole Miss (37-22) fell to Alabama (34-25) 7-5 in 10 innings at the SEC Tournament on Thursday.
With the loss, the Rebels were eliminated from the SEC Tournament and will now await NCAA Tournament selection announcements at 11 a.m. on Monday. The selection of the NCAA Tournament field will be televised by ESPNU.
Tanner Bailey (4-2) suffered the loss for the Rebels, allowing two runs on one hit with two walks in 2.1 innings of work.
Roy shows big-league talent in win
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