Coverage Breakdown: Shannon @ Itawamba
Players to Watch
Shannon Red Raiders
Jordan Gilleylen | QB
In his second season as a starter Gilleylen has taken a step, as he’s averaging 18 yards per completion. His two best games came in wins against Corinth and New Hope, in which he threw for 39 yards/4 TDs and 336 yards/3 TDs, respectively. He can really sling it and he has been a constant big play threat to opponents all season.
Thailon Whitfield | RB
After not reaching the endzone on the ground in the first two games of the season, Whitfield has scored in each of the last four games. In three of those games he rushed for more than 100 yards, but only had to tote the rock seven times in a blowout win last week. For the season he has totaled 448 yards and six touchdowns on the ground.
Erick Rogers | ATH
On the offensive side Rogers has emerged as a go-to target this season, with 28 receptions for 471 receiving yards and four score. All threw of those are team-bests seven games into the season. Additionally, he leads the defense with nine pass deflections. Rogers has been a playmaker on the edge, on both sides of the ball, for the Raiders all season.
Tyler Graham | LB
It’s not hard to find Graham, as he has been playmaker all over the field for Shannon this season. He’s tied for third on the team with 32 tackles, but he’s second with 11 tackles for loss, second with three sacks and second with two interceptions. His talents are versatile and that will show in this game.
Daqwavius Huddleston | DL
The Red Raiders needed a star to emerge up front on the defensive line and Huddleston has in a big way. He’s recorded a team high 15 tackles for loss and five sacks. He’s forced a fumble, recovered it and scored this season. He is a force up front, and it is hard to keep him out of the backfield.
Jaxon Orr | QB
The Indians are talented on the offensive side of the ball, and Orr has been a great facilitator for them this season with 11 touchdowns through the air. He’s thrown for multiple scores in three games, twice throwing for three scores. All in all, he’s thrown for 850 yards on 50 completions, good for 17 yards per completion. He’s connected on multiple long touchdown passes this season, and he has also landed on the receiving end of a 25 yard scoring toss.
Ike Chandler | RB
The last two weeks the sophomore has rushed for 215 yards and scored five times. In both games he ran for more than 100 yards, with four scores coming on the ground and one through the air. For the season he’s rushed for 568 yards and five scores. He’s running his best coming into tonight’s matchup.
Lane Domino | ATH
Domino brings so much to the table for the Indians in the form of production and leadership. Defensively he’s come up with an interception in three games this season. Offensively he’s done quite a bit, including 134 passing yards, 120 rushing yards and 207 receiving yards, to go with six total touchdowns.
Jamal Shumpert | ATH
Perhaps one of the state’s most overlooked players, Jamal Shumpert is an absolute beast. His athleticism and talent shine on both sides of the ball. For instance, last week he rushed for 109 yards on just nine carries and scored twice. He earns his helmet stickers on defense, though, where he leads the team with 81 tackles. He’s also registered two sacks, an interception, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.
Vince Hughes | DL
Hughes is putting together a spectacular senior season coming off the edge. He’s already doubled his sack output from 2016, with four, and furthermore he’s already tallied 42 tackles through seven games after totaling 55 last season. He has the ability to hinder the Shannon passing attack.
Keys to the Game
Both teams use multiple players at the quarterback spots. So that will put two areas into the spotlight here. Whichever offense is able to make the better play calls in big situation and protects the ball better is going to win this game. Those are crucial areas to watch.
Last season this game was a 63-51 contest in favor of Itawamba. While I expect it to again have an offensive flare, both defenses should hold up much better. In fact, this has close game written all over it. The final possession could be for all the marbles. It’s not so much who has the ball last, because both defenses are capable of getting a stop, but who takes the final push of momentum.
Region 2-4A is basically a reunion of great programs from the old region 1-4A, so you know it’s going to be competitive. Pontotoc is again stout, but both of these teams are 1-0. This game will go along way towards determining which of these two teams is the biggest threat at the end of the season. So look for it be played as if everything is on the line.
Jamal Shumpert. He is a guys that his teammates look to, both on the sideline and on the field. During the week and during the game. He makes big plays, too, and has since he was a freshman. There’s a good chance he makes the play that turns this one, whether on offense or defense.
**Photo courtesy of the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal