Coverage Breakdown: North Pontotoc @ South Pontotoc
Players to Watch
Zay Cullens - Cullens is committed to Memphis, but could play a number of positions on the next level due to his impressive versatility. Look for him to make his mark all over the field tonight. So far this season he has totaled 1,020 yards and 15 scores on the ground along with his 52 tackles, two fumble recoveries, one forced fumble and one interception, on defense.
Clark Mills - While Mills has thrown a touchdown in seven games and an interception in seven games this season, he has thrown for 22 scores to just seven interceptions this season. In four games this season he has cleared the 200-yard passing threshold, including 340 yards and four scores against New Albany. He also tossed four scores in a 41-6 win over Hatley earlier this month.
Corley Hooper - It isn’t hard to find Hoopers on the field in the royal blue and orange. His impact is felt all over the field. While he averages nearly eight tackles, per game, he as also contributed four scores on offense this season. All in all, he has 71 tackles, two rushing scores, two receiving scores, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery this season.
Jerrell Miller - The more the ball finds Miller’s hands, the better chance the Vikings have of scoring touchdowns. On his 25 receptions this season, he is averaging 20.5 yards per catch and has scored five times. His receiving yardage total for the season is 513, which was highlighted by a 123-yard, two score performance versus New Albany. He has added two 27-yard kickoff returns this season, as well.
Jaquez Berry - When the ball is thrown in Berry’s direction, he has the talent to not only catch it but run with it until defenders stop chasing him. He has 13 receptions for 357 yards, which is 27.5 yards per catch, and five scores this season. Additionally he has one interception, which he also took to the house. By my count thats six of 14 passes caught, whether on offense or defense, that he has taken to pay dirt.
Eddie Ivy - Consistency has been Ivy’s biggest strength this season. In eight of the Cougars’ 10 games he has averaged at least 5.1 yards per carry, additionally he has rushed for 100 yards or more in seven games, and he has scored a touchdown on the ground in six games. On the year he has rushed for 1,106 yards, on 7.7 yards per carry, and scored 14 times on the ground. Through the air he has 24 catches for 231 yards and one score.
Tyrese Fitzpatrick - Fitzpatrick has brought plenty to the table for the Cougars this season, and senior leadership can’t be lost in that. As far as production goes, he’s been mighty impressive. His 615 rushing yards, with a five yards per carry average, and six rushing scores have made him the perfect compliment to Ivy in the backfield. If he rush for 100-plus in this game, as he did against Mantachie and Aberdeen, then look for South Pontotoc to be hard to beat.
Nathan Hester - If you’re trying to find the heart and soul of the Cougar defense, or the guy that makes them go, look no further senior safety Nathan Hester. He has accumulated an eye-popping 117 tackles this season. However, he has quite a few cherries on top of that sundae, though, including 13 tackles for loss, three forced fumbles, two sacks, two pass deflections, a fumble recovery and an interception.
Matt Ford - Ford is effectively active when opponents go to the air against the Cougars. So far this season he has broken up seven passes and intercepted three others, to go with his 26 stops. If the Vikings have to air it out, Ford is likely to get his hands on a few.
Barrett Griggs - The Cougar defense is geared to stop different offenses they might face, and Griggs is part of the reason for that. This season he has 59 tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss, four pass deflections and three interceptions. He hauled in two picks against Aberdeen this season. So look for him to be opportunistic against this tough Viking offense.
Keys to Game:
Who can find more success in the backfield? Clark Mills and Zay Cullens for the Vikings, or Eddie Ivy and Tyrese Fitzpatrick for the Cougars? Look for this angle to decide the game.
Can North Pontotoc take an early lead? If this happens, it is going to be an uphill battle for the Cougars to climb back into it without much of a threat to go through the air effectively.
In losses this season the Vikings have given up in excess of 250 yards on the ground. Even in wins, such as their 15-11 win over Mooreville, they have been vulnerable to a good rushing attack. That is exactly what the Cougars aim to do in this game? Will the North Pontotoc defense step up?
Zay Cullens, ATH, North Pontotoc
I usually like to go with an unsung hero or element as my x-factor, but this one is too obvious that even I can’t mess it up. Cullens can make plays from a number of spots on the field. Look for him to turn that up a notch in this season finale, rivalry, division matchup that could net them a first place finish in region 4-3A if they win and Mooreville does, as well.