• John Macon Gillespie

Coverage Breakdown: 3A Championship

When: Saturday, 11:00am

Kemper County Wildcats(14-1)

Chris Jones has guided his Kemper County Wildcats to 14 consecutive wins since they dropped their season-opener to 6A Columbus. That includes wins at Noxubee County, at Louisville and versus Raleigh just last Friday. In fact, the Wildcats have been road warriors this season, going 8-0 away from home, and only playing four home games in the regular season.

Quarterback Eric Clark Jr. has been phenomenal this year as shown in his over 3,100 yards and 47 touchdowns in the passing game, to go with 900-plus yards and eight scores on the ground. He’s been helped by Chandler Roberts, who has rushed for just under 1,100 yards, and Rondarius Gowdy, who leads the team with nine rushing scores. Defensively, Gus Nave Jr. leads the charge with his exceptional play-making ability that has led to seven interceptions, two blocked field goals and a blocked punt.

In fact, as a whole, the Wildcat defense gets their hands on the ball as they have 20 interceptions in 15 games. On offense they are balanced, rushing for 188 yards and throwing for 237 yards per game.

Charleston Tigers(13-2)

This season’s schedule has been challenging for the Charleston Tigers, to say the least. The lone two games in the loss column came at the hands of 4A foes, Senatobia(in overtime) and Lafayette(on the road - Dores playing for 4A title), but their 13 wins haven’t come easy, either. They defeated the likes of West Bolivar, Olive Branch, North Panola and Independence in the regular season, and have beaten Belmont, Yazoo County, East Side and Velma Jackson so far in the playoffs by an average of 31 points.

Billy Kimble is the man that makes things go for the Tigers, as he has rushed for team highs, 1,639 yard and 19 touchdowns. His 117 yards per game on the ground accounts for over half of the rushing production per contest for Charleston this season, and his 10 100-yard performances shows that he brings it consistently. Bo Curtis and Jonathan Jones are the defensive standouts that must be accounted for. Curtis leads the Tigers with 11.5 sacks, while Jones has tallied a team-high 148 tackles.

There isn’t a ton of passing included in what head coach Scott Martin likes to do on offense. That’s why his Tigers have averaged 205 yards per game on the ground, to just 88 per game through the air.

How The Game Will Be Won

In order for Kemper County to win this game, they must keep their offense on the field. This would help the defense out tremendously, as it would keep the Charleston offense off of the field. The Wildcats must also make the Tigers go to the air, and not let them remain successful in their one-dimensional approach.

Meanwhile, Charleston must stay focused. The previous two seasons the Tigers have started fast, but failed to close out the championship game against Collins. They can take Gus Nave out of this game, if they find success enough on the ground to keep it there. In the meantime, they must eliminate at lest one element of the offense for Kemper County and force them to be one-dimensional.

SES Picks:

Webb Lewis-----Kemper County

John Luke McCord-----Kemper County

John Macon Gillespie-----Charleston

Jared Redding-----Charleston

Tucker Italiano-----Charleston

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