Anyone looking for an indication on how close Northeast Lauderdale season has been needs to look no further than the hairs on head coach Curt Blackburn's head. The Trojans have pulled out more than their share of exciting finishes this season,and are now returning back to the playoffs after missing out on the postseasonlast year.
With nail-biter victories against rival West Lauderdale and Newton County already in the books, the Trojans will look to continue to thrive under pressure as they travel to Forrest County AHS for the first round of the playoffs.
“I have preached the whole week to the team that they have played with the best of everybody this season,” Blackburn said. “We have played with good teams from our district and other districts as well.”
Trojan players remember back in 2010 when the Aggies knocked them out 22-17 in the second round of the playoffs. This season, Northeast will not only look to pull a surprise win, but also give the Aggies a taste of their own medicine in revenge.
“Our seniors, mainly Josh and Phillip Everett were playing then,” Blackburn said. “They remember that, because I remind them daily. It is fresh on their minds still.”
Friday's matchup could very well turn into a shootout, as both offenses bring high-flying attacks to the contest. The Aggies are averaging around 150 yards in the air to go along with 300 yards on the ground per game this season, and will be a tough task for Trojan defenders to bring down.
“They have a really explosive offense,” Blackburn said. “We are trying to sell our defense on, if we can get an interception or two here or there, maybe even force a turnover on down, it would slow them down a bit.
“If our offense plays like it is capable of, that could be a big factor in the game. We are looking to get anything we can from the defense. Any stop other than a touchdown will be a win.”
As a No. 4 seed in the playoffs, Blackburn knows his team will not be favored against Forrest County. Still, the head coach has faith in his bunch, noting with the way this season has played out, anything could happen.
“I'm proud of the way our guys have battled all season,” Blackburn said. “We played a hard schedule, so at 5-6 we could be a lot worse, but I also feel we could be a lot better. It has just been one of those up and down roller-coaster seasons.
“I told my team we are a No.4 going up against a No.1 ,so everybody is going to see us as the underdogs. If we lose, that is what everybody expected, but if we win we are looking pretty good in the southern part of the state.”
Roy shows big-league talent in win
Every youth leaguer dreams of being a Major League Baseball player. In Tuesday's Cardinals-Mets game, 8-year-old Trace Roy swung the bat and flashed some leather that looked like a glimpse into the future.
Cougars fall in Game 1
A sixth inning rally by Lewisburg handed the Newton County Cougars their first lost of the postseason, 2-0, in Game 1 of the Class 4A baseball championship at Trustmark Park.
Bulldogs win again, beat S. Carolina in SEC Tournament
Demarcus Henderson and Wes Rea both had RBI singles in the ninth inning to lift Mississippi State to a 5-3 win over South Carolina Wednesday night in the second round of the Southeastern Conference tournament.
The Bulldogs (42-16) loaded the bases with one out before Henderson and Rea drove in runs on consecutive at-bats for the second time in the game.
Mississippi State had beaten Missouri 2-1 in 17 innings Tuesday night, matching the longest game in SEC tournament history.
Reliever Myles Gentry (4-0) limited the Gamecocks (39-17) to a one-out single in the bottom of the ninth.
Gentry pitched 5-2/3 scoreless innings, allowing three hits while striking out eight.
Rea was 3 for 4 while Henderson drove in three runs.
Mississippi State led 3-0 before South Carolina tied it up in the fourth.
Max Schrock drew a bases loaded walk and Brison Celek followed with a two-run single.
Hogs top Ole Miss in SEC Tournament
For the second time this season the Rebels played an extra-inning affair with the Razorbacks, but with a different outcome as No. 21 Ole Miss (37-21) fell to No. 15 Arkansas (36-19) 2-1 in 10 innings on Wednesday.
Fundamentals leading Newton County to Jackson
In 2006, Newton County baseball won the 3A state title. Since then, they've moved up a class but haven't had much luck – until now.
Roy takes over as football head coach at Clarkdale
After nine years serving as an assistant on the Clarkdale football coaching staff, Wes Roy proudly considers himself a Bulldog. The coach has not only grown to love the team and its players, but also the Clarkdale community itself.
Bennett stays on as softball coach at Clarkdale
In one season as the interim coach for the Clarkdale softball team, Britt Bennett has gone through what most coaches go through in a career. Over the past year, Clarkdale has dealt with the death of two students, a coaching scandal and the departure of two star players.
Titles nothing new for Newton County
Newton County captured its seventh fast-pitch state championship, outscoring defending champion Houston 26-3 in two games. The Cougars took home the title despite not having a single senior on their roster –– still, few were surprised.
Embry completes 5A title sweep
In his first year coaching the Neshoba Central softball team, Trae Embry won two state titles but wouldn't take all the credit.
Morgan takes runner-up at Nationals
Meridian Community College golfer, TJ Morgan, from Bruce, MS, tied for the
individual medalist at the NJCAA D1 National Championship held in Lubbock, TX, but lost on the first hole of a playoff. TJ shot 7 under for the tournament with a 76 on the first day followed by 68, 67 and a last round 70. Aksel Olsen from Wallace State Community College won the playoff. TJ was named First Team All-American for his high finish.
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