Blog Bonus – Greenville St. Joseph at Okolona

Friday: Greenville St. Joseph (7-3) at Okolona (8-3)

Read more about the football playoffs in Friday’s Daily Journal.

Ken Byars thinks his Okolona team is back to its old self.

After a 5-0 start, the Chieftains lost three of four before closing out the regular season with wins over Biggersville and Thrasher. True, those are cellar-dwelling teams, but Byars thinks his team found its old form on defense and is better offensively. He’ll find out when Greenville St. Joseph visits for a Class 1A first-round playoff game.

“The past two weeks, we really needed a confidence booster,” the first-year coach said, “to get the confidence back that we can compete.”

Okolona’s defense, which was pasted for 52 points by East Webster on Oct. 19, is led by linebackers Justin Cherry and Willie Grady. Byars insists the following numbers are legit: 124 tackles, 43 TFL, 18 sacks for Cherry; 118 tackles, 64 TFL, 19.5 sacks for Grady.

Those stats are a product of Byars’ aggressive schemes. He said Grady is more of a rush end, and that if doesn’t hit the ball carrier at or behind the line of scrimmage, then he probably won’t make a tackle.

St. Joseph will test that defense with running back Ladarius Perkins, who’s rushed for 1,713 yards and 28 touchdowns.

“We’re back to form,” Byars said. “Two shutouts in a row, and very, very few yards.”

As for Okolona’s offense, Byars will look to Grady, but he’s also been getting good production from junior Shaquille Wilson, who’s rushed for 426 yards and four TDs over the last three games. He will be valuable against a St. Joseph defense that likes to blitz.

“The game plan doesn’t change,” Byars said. “We’re still going to try to win with defense and score enough points to win.”

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Blog Bonus – Greenville St. Joseph at Okolona

  1. ty1974

    Ken Byars had done a Great job so far with the chieftains. But If he wanna advance he got to change his offense approach …i dont see them going to far with and below average offenseif they do beat greenville then more than likely they go on the road to Ray brooks who will put up points… I think in order for them to have a chance of advancing thru the playoffs is to get there most talented player the football which is willie grady. He doesnt touch the ball enough he should be a triple -threat at wide-out, running back , and even some quaterback draw play so …use this guy Byars he is a work horse.Your blitzing ways will catch up wit u (Eastwebster) comes to mind..if u put the ball in Grady’s hand he will run thru a brickwall for ya coach.. so u cant have this guy on the sideline drinking “Icy Cold” gatorade when you have a less than sub par quaterbackwho completes about 30 %of his passes and your best player at wide Out.”COmmom Sense tells u to hand th eball off to this Guy on reverses or put him in shot Gun and let him do what he do Coach “Make Plays”instead of throwing it to him on Fade routes which everyteam will look for’COmmon SEnse” if u dont this season will come to an end Quick.. CHiefs16 greenville14.

  2. gochiefs2007

    i wanna echo that point. Your running backs or to small u need a work horse who can bang it up in there threw the tackles.One name for you “WILLIE GRADY”..His a senior coach u need to use this guy NOW it ain’t no tommorrow.Your defense is good but u cant blitz on everydown TEAMs have killed u running th eball to the outside no team runs up th emiddle they run around the end b/c your two linebackers or coming hard up the gut.If YO OFFENSE CANT PUT UP 21 POINTS A GAME u HAVE nO SHOT AT GOING TO jACKSON I DONT CARE how good your defense is. Coach byers has been good but he need to use all his weapons this post season COACH LETS RIDE the WILLIE Train.. CHOO CHOO>>>>>

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