tonight's key area games will separate region leaders
By Gene Phelps
The term "region co-leader" will be history following tonight's three key games in Regions 1-1A, 1-3A and 1-4A.
The winners of all three matchups will take sole possession of first place in their respective regions.
Smithville (5-1, 4-0) and Calhoun City (4-2, 4-0) are battling in Region 1-1A at 7 p.m. in Calhoun City. The Seminoles are ranked No. 1 in the Daily Journal's small school poll while the host Wildcats are ranked No. 4.
"The winner will have a really good shot at being in one of the top two slots for the playoffs," Smithville coach Dwight Bowling said.
Bowling said it will take "a major effort" for his team to compete with the homestanding Wildcats.
"Their quarterback (Antonio Campbell) runs the option well," Bowling said. "They are also throwing the ball a lot more, and they're doing it well. Their running back (Derrick) Armstrong is a very dangerous runner."
The Wildcats will test a Smithville defense that is giving up a stingy 120 yards per game.
Smithville quarterback Brian McCollum has posted some of the area's top passing numbers, completing 48-of-101 passes for 783 yards and 11 touchdowns. He has suffered eight interceptions. His top receiver is Eddrick Stegall, who has 18 catches for 360 yards and six scores.
Wesley Scott leads the Seminoles' ground game with 558 yards and six touchdowns.
Shannon (5-1, 3-0) visits Hernando (6-0, 2-0) for a 7:30 p.m. kickoff in Region 1-4A.
Shannon is the Daily Journal's top-rated large school and is ranked No. 15 in the state by the Associated Press. Hernando, a non-area school, is ranked No. 16 by the AP.
Red Raiders coach Mike Scott said the forecast of rain could favor Hernando.
"We're not ready for the type of weather we're going to have," he said. "That's probably to their advantage because they are a running team. But I hate to say it's to anybody's advantage, we're both playing in it.
"If we do what we're supposed to do it doesn't matter who has the advantage."
Corinth (5-1, 2-0) and New Albany (5-1, 3-0) collide at 7:30 p.m. in a Region 1-3A in New Albany.
The visiting Warriors are the Journal's No. 3-ranked team while the Bulldogs are No. 5.