Coverage Breakdown: South Pontotoc @ Houston
Players to Watch
South Pontotoc Cougars
Cole Brown | QB
In three separate games Brown has thrown for 200 yards or more, and he’s also completed 31 of 43 pass attempts for 13 touchdowns in those games. For the season he’s thrown for 1,240 yards and 18 touchdowns, surpassing his totals from last year. the senior signal caller has been instrumental in the Cougar surge this season.
Eddie Ivy | RB
Ivy burst on the scene as a sophomore last season, and he’s on pace to be even more productive this year. Thus far he’s rushed for 1,086 yards and 13 touchdowns, but most impressively he’s averaging 135 yards per game and 9.5 yards per carry. He’s also snagged 16 passes for 402 yards and three scores, and mind you, that’s 25 yards per catch. Twice this season he’s rushed for over 200 yards, after doing it to Nettleton last Friday and earlier this year to Bruce.
Brett Riley | TE
At 6’6 Riley has been a nightmare matchup for opponents this season from his tight end spot. Just ask rival North Pontotoc, who he snagged five touchdowns on, or Vardaman, on whom he grabbed four scores through the air on. He caught for 234 yards and 132 yards in those two games, respectively. Last week he caught for passes, with three being for touchdowns, against Nettleton. Houston has to be able to cover Riley to win this one.
Troy Bone | ATH
Bone impacts more areas of the game than any other player for the Cougars. He’s already totaled 92 tackles, six tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, an interception, three forced fumbles and a fumble recovery. On the offensive side he’s rushed for 348 yards, caught for 122 and scored three times. Needless to say, Bone is sure to have an impact in this game.
Jailan Carter | DL
Opposing ball carriers must take notice of where Carter is at all times. In the middle of the Cougars’ d-line is the wide and powerful senior, and he always finds a way to blow up plays. This senior class has seen the change in culture around South Pontotoc, and Carter embodies that change best. He’s totaled 30 tackles and four sacks this season.
Urriah Shepard | QB
Shepard enters week nine as Houston’s leading rusher with already 1,000 yards on just 100 carries. He’s also thrown for another 766 yards to go with 13 total touchdowns. He’s as strong as mack truck, and he’s got guts. He also plays linebacker and has tallied 26 tackles, a sack and a pick. Shepard is the heart and soul of this Houston team.
Jalen May | ATH
Houston is known for having versatile athletes, and Jalen May might be the best of that same description on this year’s team. He’s rushed for over 350 yards and a pair of scores to go with more than 230 receiving yards and another pair of scores. On defense he’s registered 43 tackles, six pass breakups and an interception.
Zykiel Virges | DB
Along with Shepard, Virges might be the most college-looking player on the Toppers’ roster. He posses next-level size at defensive back, and he uses that along with his smooth athleticism and speed to dominate opponents. He’s totaled four pass breakups, an interception and a fumble recovery this season.
Bobby Townsend | ATH
The junior bruiser is a throwback in today’s modern version of football that features space and speed over physicality and pad-smacking collisions. Townsend leads the Toppers with 73 tackles, and he is also the enforcer in the offensive backfield. He’s also tallied a sack and five rushing touchdowns. He is built like a bowling ball, and it’s hard to stop him once he starts rolling down the lane.
Rish Alford | DL
Plenty of pass rushers graduated off of last year’s defense, and Alford has picked up the slack with 11 sacks this season. Last week against Hatley he tallied 11 tackles and three tackles for loss and two sacks. His quickness is what allows him to get around bigger offensive linemen.
Keys to the Game
Both offenses get it done on the ground, and that means both defenses face a stiff challenge in simply defending the other offense for four quarters. However, Houston has strung together four solid weeks on the defensive side, including their first shutout of the season last week against Hatley.
Five times this season South Pontotoc has scored 42 points or more, including a 61-point outburst against Bruce. The Cougars also have shown a bit more balance offensively this season, adding over 150 yards per game through the air.
Both of these teams are very talented, and confident, this season. However, the quarterback position could well decide this clash. Both teams have seniors under center in Urriah Shepard and Cole Brown. Which quarterback makes more winning plays for his team? Which guy makes more mistakes? The answers to those questions will likely decide the game.
Momentum and location. For Houston things seem to be looking up and they appear to be chasing their ceiling as a team. However, South Pontotoc must pick up the pieces from a heartbreaking and disappointing loss last week and go on the road to a hostile environment once more. The Topper fans will be out and loud for this one, giving the home team a 12-man advantage.