Coach Adam Dillinger takes his Ackerman squad to Choctaw Central tonight for its second Thursday night encounter of the season. (Joel Coleman/SDN)
It has been a long five weeks for the Ackerman Indians.
Since opening the season with an 8-6 overtime victory over Starkville Academy, the defending Class 2A North State champions have dropped four straight games, scoring more than six points just once over that stretch.
So when the Indians play their final non-region game tonight in Philadelphia against Choctaw Central, it should be no surprise what head coach Adam Dillinger wants to see happen.
"We've got to find offense," said Dillinger. "We've got to have guys step up and make some plays and find a way to score some points."
Though Ackerman has averaged scoring less than seven points per game in 2010, Dillinger says his offensive attack isn't as bad as the numbers may indicate. The Indians leader cites plenty of missed opportunities over the first five contests.
"We've left a lot of points out on the field just making mistakes," said Dillinger. "It's not that we haven't had some success on offense, it's just we haven't finished drives and we've shot ourselves in the foot a lot."
Dillinger hopes his squad can begin minimizing their miscues tonight against the Warriors, just eight days before opening up Region 2-2A play next Friday against J.Z. George.
For Ackerman to accomplish that task, they'll have to outscore a powerful Warrior offense led by senior quarterback Garrick Stoliby.
"He can run and throw well," Dillinger said of Stoliby. "But they are pretty balanced on offense too. They get the ball to several guys and are a solid, physical team. We'll have our work cut out for us."
Making matters worse for Ackerman is the fact that they enter tonight's game a bit shorthanded.
Coming out of last week's 48-0 loss to Winona, the Indians lost senior offensive lineman Wylie Rhodes to a knee injury and senior linebacker Patterson Bell to a broken leg.
Rhodes will be out for at least this week's game, while Bell will be forced to sit for four to six weeks.
Sophomore running back/linebacker Cody Harris, who was carried off the field by ambulance at the end of last week's Winona game, will be available for action tonight despite suffering bruised ribs.
Tonight's game kicks off at 7:30 p.m.
Noxapater (2-3) at East Oktibbeha (0-5)
Despite its winless record, East Oktibbeha has been in every game it has played this season. The Titans look to finally come out on top of things Friday night in a home matchup with Noxapater.
The Tigers bring a two game losing streak to Crawford, most recently falling 37-19 to Nanih Waiya.
Even better news for coach Randy Brooks' Titans is the fact that Noxapater has allowed at least 28 points in all but one game this season.
That could bode well for Chris Hunter and the East Oktibbeha offense who average nearly 20 points per game.
Edinburg (0-4) at West Oktibbeha (4-1)
Coach Adam Lowrey's Timberwolves look to stay undefeated in Region 3-1A play as they host Edinburg.
The Eagles are coming off of a 40-0 setback at the hands of Weir, but have proven earlier this season that they possess the tools to be competitive.
In a September 10 matchup with Ethel, Edinburg narrowly lost, falling 13-12 to the Tigers.
West Oktibbeha has been on quite the roll since beginning region play, notching wins over East Oktibbeha, Noxapater, and Thomastown.
The Timberwolves have lost just once this year in an early-season game against Class 2A East Webster.
East Webster (5-0) at Alcorn Central (0-5)
East Webster's final tune-up before opening Region 2-2A play next week takes the Wolverines to Glen for a matchup with winless Class 3A Alcorn Central.
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The Bears offense is averaging just seven points per game, while the defense has allowed at least 33 points per game in every contest.
That could spell disaster for Alcorn Central against the undefeated Wolverines who boast quite the high-powered offense led by quarterback Ledrick Patterson.