For the third-consecutive season, the Corinth Warriors are playing in the third round of the MHSAA Class 4A playoffs.
It hasn’t worked out well for the Warriors the last two seasons, but coach Todd Lowery hopes his team can get past the invisible wall it has crashed into in those games. In 2017, Corinth lost to Noxubee County, 43-13. Last year, Corinth led late in the second half but eventually lost to Greenwood, 40-38.
Tonight, the Warriors (11-1) host the undefeated Itawamba AHS Indians (13-0) and Class 4A Mr. Football winner Ike Chandler, who has eclipsed 2,000 rushing yards for the second-straight season.
“We got blown out the first year and it was really close last year,” Lowery said. “What are we going to do to get through that wall this year? I think it’s more about not making it about the last two years and just making it about this being the next game.”
The two teams bear striking resemblances to each other. Both are led by dynamic quarterbacks and running backs, who wear the same jersey numbers for each team.
Corinth quarterback DT Sheffield, No. 3, has passed for 1,070 yards and 15 touchdowns, and has rushed for 597 yards and 12 touchdowns in the Warriors’ Wing-T offense. Running back Tam Patterson, No. 4, has rushed for 1,008 yards and 18 touchdowns.
For IAHS, Chandler wears No. 4, and has rushed for 2,460 yards and 29 touchdowns. Quarterback Daeveon Sistrunk, No. 3, has passed for 986 yards and nine touchdowns and has rushed for 952 yards and 18 touchdowns.
“Their No. 3 and 4 and our No. 3 and 4 are very similar,” IAHS coach Clint Hoots said. “You have to limit the big plays and try to keep the ball in front of you. It’s tough, especially with how explosive Corinth is.”
These teams are familiar with each other. They have played each of the last 10 seasons, and Itawamba holds a 6-4 record during that stretch. Corinth won last year’s matchup in a shootout, 45-42.
“Our kids know each other, and this is the first year in a while that we haven’t played each other in the regular season,” Hoots said. “This is one of those games where you have to go out there and can’t make mistakes. Every play is going to count towards the outcome.”