CATEGORY: FOL High School Football
HED:Tupelo hopes to stop Jaguars' roll
By Gene Phelps
Johnny Hill's ready to see his football team begin its new season today.
"The playoffs are a new season; everybody's 0-0," said the Tupelo High coach, whose Golden Wave (8-3) plays Madison Central (9-2) at 7:30 p.m. today in the opening round of the Class 5A state playoffs at Madison. "It's anybody's game."
Tonight's opponent, Madison Central, is coming in on a roll. The Jaguars upset favored Clinton 25-22 last week to win the Region 2-5A championship.
Tupelo finished as the fourth-place team in Region 1-5A despite ending the regular season with a 10-7 win over Greenwood.
Hill was a little disappointed in his team's offensive play last week.
"We were too inconsistent for the 11th game of the year," he said, shaking his head. "I would expect that many busts in the first game. We shot ourselves in the foot. We had backs going the wrong way, linemen missing assignments, receivers lining up wrong. But, we had our bad game and won.
"We did some good things when everybody was on the same page."
Quarterback Stan Hill had a productive night against Greenwood, completing 14 of 21 passes for 159 yards and one touchdown. Four of his completions went to Kelly Shumpert for 39 yards, including a 31-yard TD pass.
Tight end Chuck McElroy had a productive game, catching four passes for 51 yards.
"Chuck had his best game," Johnny Hill said. "He made some great catches and runs after the catch."
Tupelo's defense will have its hands full with Madison Central's ground attack.
"Offensively, they like to pound you," Hill said. "They are very patient with their system. It's four or five yards and a cloud of dust."
The players making the most dust are tailback Sylvester Brown, who has run for 1,354 yards and scored six touchdowns. Fullback Artha Washington has added 732 yards and scored 10 touchdowns.
"Our defense has been bend but don't break," Hill said. "We've got to control the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. The backs, receivers and defensive backs are in the limelight, but games are won in the trenches. The one who wins will be the one who wins the offensive line and defensive line battle."