By Gene Phelps
The games are only getting bigger for Shannon.
The Red Raiders are 4-2 overall with an impressive win against 3A power Aberdeen in their hip pocket as they head into the “meat” of their Division 1-4A schedule.
First up, former Daily Journal No. 1-ranked Itawamba AHS. The home-standing Indians are looking to end a two-game losing streak.
“It’s a division game, so it’s big,” Shannon coach Darryl Carter said. “Itawamba’s coming off a loss. It’s big for both teams because of what’s at stake.
“This division is tough. Every game is important and we’re going into the meat of our schedule against Itawamba (4-2), Amory (3-4), Corinth (4-3) and Pontotoc (5-2).”
Shannon followed up its 21-20 win against Aberdeen with a 40-6 victory against Tishomingo County last week in its division opener.
The Red Raiders’ losses have been to 6A Tupelo and to 4A Caledonia.
Carter, who is in his fourth season, is proud of the improvement his program is making.
“These guys are buying in to what we’re doing,” he said during a break at Wednesday’s practice. “They know about the sacrifices we all have to make. They’re starting to get there. They see some success.”
Shannon’s offense operates with two effective quarterbacks in Martavious Fells and Jordan Gilleylen.
“I can’t say that I like playing two quarterbacks, but if that’s what we’ve got to do to be successful, then that’s fine,” Carter said.
In the backfield, freshman Thailon Whitfield rushed for 144 yards against Tishomingo County. It was his third 100-yard game. He’s second on the team in rushing behind hard-hitting Vincent McIntosh.
Carter credits his offensive line with a lot of the unit’s success.
“We’ve finally got some big linemen, some players who look like linemen and not skill players,” he said, then smiled.
Others to watch
Amory at Pontotoc: The race for a playoff berth in Division 1-4A starts here.
Southaven at Tupelo: The Golden Wave is looking to bounce back from last week’s 1-6A loss to Columbus.
East Webster at Winona: Two 6-1 teams battle in a Division 4-2A game.