CATEGORY: FOL High School Football
HED:Shannon faces its toughest test
By Gene Phelps
Shannon may be undefeated, but the Red Raiders aren't overlooking tonight's road opponent Aberdeen.
"Our kids read the paper," Shannon coach Mike Scott said. "They've seen how Aberdeen has beaten Okolona and New Albany. They've seen how close they played Amory.
"They are by far the best we've seen all year."
Shannon is 4-0 and ranked No. 2 in this week's Daily Journal poll. Aberdeen is 2-2 and coming off two consecutive victories.
In other games involving Lee County teams this week, Mooreville (2-1) opens Division 1-2A play at Walnut (0-4), Saltillo (0-4) opens its 1-3A schedule at Corinth (2-2), Baldwyn (3-0), ranked No. 1 in the Daily Journal small school poll, opens 1-2A play hosting No. 5 Belmont (4-0). In a non-division game, Nettleton (1-2) travels to No. 4 Falkner.
(bullet) In last week's 33-20 win over New Albany, Aberdeen's running back trio of Nate Hodges, Billy Blanchard and Mike Irons scored five touchdowns.
"They've got three really good running backs," Shannon's Scott said. "They are doing things a lot better this season. They are improving every game."
Scott's Red Raiders had little trouble last week rolling to a 63-6 win over county rival Saltillo. Running back Chris Lockridge rushed for 100 yards and scored three touchdowns.
Wide receiver-defensive back Joseph Thompson and defensive tackle Sanderick Shannon drew praise from Scott for their play.
"Sanderick has played well; he's consistent," Scott said. "He gives 100 percent every play. Joseph has played well on both sides of the ball for us."
Thompson is quarterback Corey Johnson's favorite receiver. He caught a 78-yarder for a TD against Saltillo.
(bullet) Nettleton's task will be to stop Falkner senior running back Edward Prather, who has rushed for 508 yards and scored six touchdowns in four games.
"He's super," Nettleton coach Doug Vanlandingham said. "During the course of the night he's going to have his plays. They've got too many weapons. Their quarterback is deadly. He can throw and run the option."
Falkner's quarterback is Shino Edgeston. He has passed for six touchdowns and ran for three this season.
"When we started out, it seemed like everybody was going to take Prather away from us," Falkner coach Rickey Bates said. "Everybody realizes now they have to take the quarterback. He has made people play us straight up."
Bates knows his team will have its hands full with the visiting Tigers.
"They've got a talented backfield," he said. "They're very quick and they've got good speed. They're not very big, but their offensive and defensive fronts come at you hard and stay low. I was impressed with them on tape."
Vanlandingham says is team is "beat up and banged up" after three games.
"I'm concerned," he said. "We've been through the meat grinder."
(bullet) Mooreville coach Michael Bradley isn't fooled by Walnut's 0-4 record.
"They've got some outstanding athletes and a good coach," he said. "It's going to be a tough one for us. They are bigger than we are and faster than we are."
The Troopers, who beat Thrasher 22-6 last week, are led by junior tailback James Walls. Through four games, Walls has rushed for 544 yards and scored three touchdowns.
Mooreville quarterback Jon McMillan had a solid outing against Thrasher, completing 8-of-14 passes for 105 yards and one TD.
"Our passing game's gotten better," Bradley said. "Jon had three passes dropped, no interceptions and no dumb throws. We had time to throw. Our offensive line did a good job."