The outcome of a historic matchup could rest on the shoulders of some very young quarterbacks.
Pontotoc is hosting rival North Pontotoc tonight in the first round of the MHSAA Class 4A playoffs. It marks the first time the teams have met in the postseason.
The Warriors (5-5) will look to freshman Conner Armstrong and sophomore Brice Deaton under center. Those two have split snaps all season, and coach Jeff Carter has done what he can to simplify the offense for them.
“So it’s just rote memory, muscle memory,” Carter said. “The same checks, the same audibles and all those type things, so it’s getting easier for them.”
For North Pontotoc (7-4), freshman Reece Kentner has started the last three games after replacing sophomore T.J. Polk. Kentner has completed 21 of 48 passes for 373 yards.
Polk will still have a role at his former position, running back.
“We threw (Kentner) in a little bit early on, and he wasn’t quite ready,” coach Andy Crotwell said. “He continued to grow and develop and has done a good job for us the last few weeks.”
The Vikings will try and do their damage mainly on the ground. Junior Raquan Booth leads the way with 942 yards and five touchdown, and his backfield partner, Tyler Hill, has been back the last five games after recovering from a broken collarbone.
Hill, a junior, has rushed for 234 yards and seven TDs.
Pontotoc allowed 189 rushing yards in last week’s 17-14 win over Shannon – much better than the 296 yards allowed to Itawamba AHS a week prior.
“They like to run a lot of powers and counters,” Carter said of North Pontotoc. “We’ve got to be good tacklers.”
Nineteen area teams in Classes 2A, 3A and 4A open playoff action tonight.
Highlighting the 4A slate is Shannon (5-6) at New Albany (7-3). In 3A, Booneville (8-2) hosts North Panola (7-3), while Houston (7-3) travels to Winona (8-2), which is led at quarterback by Ole Miss commit An’Darius Coffey.
The 2A schedule features Bruce (4-7) at East Union (8-2) and Potts Camp (5-5) at East Webster (9-1).
Teams in 1A, 5A and 6A open the playoffs next week.