Friday: Louisville (4-3, 3-0 Region 2-3A) at Aberdeen (5-2, 3-1)
Read more about this game and others in Friday’s Daily Journal.
Think for a moment back to last December, when the MHSAA announced its biennial realignment. Louisville was dropped from Class 4A to 3A, and everyone said, in effect, “They’re going to Jackson in 2007.”
Meanwhile, Aberdeen was still getting over an 0-10 season and would soon see first-year coach Jack Hankins depart.
Now back to the present. Louisville is still considered the favorite in 3A – don’t let that record fool you; the Wildcats’ schedule has been brutal – but Aberdeen is not the doormat it once was. The Bulldogs are not the cupcake, the easy win, the week off, that Louisville fans once thought they’d be.
These guys are winning, and they’re believing.
“This week you can tell the kids are more focused,” first-year coach Chris Duncan said Thursday. “I think we’re going to come into it thinking we can win.” Duncan added that Aberdeen is having its best practice week of the season.
Louisville coach Brad Peterson is well-aware of Aberdeen’s offensive weaponry – quarterback Marcus Hinton, receivers Rickey Bell and Tevin Blanchard, to name a few. Aberdeen’s scoring 35.4 points per game.
“We’re worried about the big play. They’ve hit the big play a lot this year,” Peterson said.
Aberdeen has also yielded some big plays. Over their last three games, the Bulldogs have allowed an average of 35 points. Duncan said he’s made some personnel changes on defense, but will it be enough to stop Louisville’s array of playmakers?
Well, one playmaker might not play. Quarterback Clayton Moore, a junior, has a grade 1 MCL sprain in his left knee and might not go; so Peterson is prepared to start junior D.Q. Mays. “We feel comfortable with either quarterback,” he said.
Louisville piled up 472 yards of offense against Noxubee County last week, but eight turnovers doomed the Wildcats in a 40-26 loss. Aberdeen will take that kind of help.
“If we don’t get ourselves fixed,” Peterson said, “it don’t matter who we play, we can’t win.”