Blog Bonus – Oxford at Lafayette Co.

Tonight: Oxford (1-2) at Lafayette Co. (2-1), 7 p.m.

See more on this game and many others in Friday’s Daily Journal.

One of the things I like about Oxford coach Johnny Hill is his dry sense of humor. Even with his team stumbling to a 1-2 start, Hill has retained his wit.

“We haven’t peaked too early, I can tell you that,” he said.

Now would be a good time to start improving, though. The Chargers face arch-rival Lafayette County (2-1) tonight in the annual Crosstown Classic. It also happens to be both teams’ Region 2-4A opener.

Oxford can’t afford to play the way it has the last two weeks in losses to Horn Lake and Senatobia. Injuries to starting linebackers Chris Rippon and Adrian Agnew, right tackle Brian Evans and tailback Derrick Williams haven’t helped. But Hill makes no excuses.

“We’ve haven’t been hitting on all cylinders – stupid things, mistakes,” Hill said. “We haven’t been playing like our britches are on fire, and hopefully we’ll wake up and do what we’ll need to do.”

Did I mention I also like Hill’s folksy colloquialisms?

Anyway, Hill liked the effort last week, but there were simply too many missed tackles and blown assignments.

Lafayette, the Daily Journal’s No. 5-ranked large school, will offer a stern test. While the Commodores would seem a slight favorite, anyone who knows anything about this rivalry knows the records really don’t matter. It’s a cliché, but it’s so true.

“We’re going to start 16 guys that didn’t start last year against them,” Lafayette coach Anthony Hart said. “We don’t know what’s going to happen.”

The only sure thing about this game is that it’s being played much earlier than normal. The Crosstown Classic is traditionally played the final game of the regular season, but this year’s 2-4A schedule was determined by a blind draw. It makes no difference to Hart, but Hill prefers it this way.

“I kind of like it earlier, mainly because the kids are drained after this ballgame,” he said, “and if you have it at the end of the year and make the playoffs, it puts you at a disadvantage.”

First, you’ve got to make the playoffs. That quest starts tonight.

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