Oxford’s offense is still trying to find its footing, which is hard to do when facing top-notch defenses every week.
It gets no easier tonight, when the Chargers (2-1) visit rival Lafayette (2-1) in the annual Crosstown Classic. The Commodores have one of the area’s top defenses, having allowed just 20 points all season while forcing 10 turnovers.
“They are extremely talented and very experienced,” Oxford coach Chris Cutcliffe said. “Their talent is very easy to see, but then you realize that a lot of those guys have been playing for three years, they’ve seen it all and know what to do and where to be.”
The same can’t be said for Oxford’s offense. The Chargers, No. 1 in the Daily Journal large school rankings, have had to replace nearly all of its wide receiver production from last season.
Oxford is again using the two-quarterback system of Michael Harvey and Tripp Maxwell. In two games on the field, they have a combined completion percentage of 34.2 – a good 20 percentage points below last year’s rate.
“A lot of credit to two really good defensive football teams we’ve played, Brandon and Ruston,” Cutcliffe said. “You certainly do have to work at chemistry, and we’re rotating a lot of guys and playing a lot of different people. We want to build depth.”
The No. 5-ranked Commdores are a work in progress on offense as well, at least at quarterback. Will Dabney was moved there from tight end after starter Tyrus Williams had season-ending shoulder surgery in July.
Dabney is 4 of 17 for 56 yards and two interceptions.
“It’s a process of figuring out what he’s comfortable with and what he’s comfortable doing. I love where he is from a leadership standpoint,” Lafayette coach Michael Fair said.
• East Webster (3-0) visits Baldwyn (2-1) in a battle of ranked Class 2A teams. Baldwyn, No. 3 in the small school rankings, rushed for 436 yards in last week’s 60-14 win over Tishomingo County. No. 5 East Webster leans on a strong defense that has recorded 20 sacks.
• Houston (3-0) heads to Corinth (1-2), which is looking to rebound from a 56-0 loss to Tupelo – the Warriors’ worst loss in 71 years.
• No. 4 large school Tupelo (3-0) entertains Columbus (1-2). The Golden Wave are allowing just 99 yards of total offense per game.