French Camp looks to follow up win with another

Nathan Wright
By: 
DANNY P. SMITH
Staff Writer

It may not have been a pretty win, but the ones that come ugly are just as important in the standings.

With a 21-20 victory over Noxapater last week, the French Camp Panthers worked their way up into a tie for second place in the Class A, Region 3 standings.

French Camp has a region record of 3-1, which matches the marks of Noxapater and Vardaman, which the Panthers have already beaten. Nanih Waiya sits in first place at 5-0.

Leaving Noxapater with a win is something French Camp coach Nathan Wright doesn't take for granted no matter how it looked at times.

"Anytime you can play the game you love is good enough. but to win, that's cake and the icing both," Wright said. "It was a big win for us. Being able to win in that stadium is something I haven't done much of here at French Camp. I've been thinking that I've only been able to do it a couple of times since I've been here. I don't think either team played very well, but we came out on top of it, so that is good."

The next challenge for the Panthers comes Friday night at home against Ethel. The 7 p.m. kickoff will be homecoming for French Camp.

Wright likes the way the Panthers handle all of the potential distractions homecoming can present and said it's usually not a problem for his program.

"It's fun for our kids and it's a real big game," Wright said. "Typically our teams have played really well on homecoming. We do a good job of not letting it interrupt our schedule."

Once again a tough non-region schedule, including Starkville Academy and Eupora, has benefited French Camp. Even though the Panthers are 4-3 overall, they are right in the thick of the Region 3 race.

French Camp is led by a pair of underclassmen on offense in junior quarterback Holman Edwards and sophomore running back Kendall Coleman.

Edwards has completed 43-of-89 pass attempts for 778 yards and four touchdowns, while Coleman has 49 carries for 362 yards and five touchdowns with 11 catches for 223 more yards and one score. Taiwan Cook has 10 receptions for 274 yards and three touchdowns.

Defensively, Clayton Leathers has 45 tackles, including five tackles for a loss.

Even though Ethel is located just across the Choctaw County line into Attala County, Wright knows there will be an extra flavor for this matchup. Ethel has lost all five of its region games so far, but Wright doesn't think that matters.

"Regardless of the records, they still know each other and they get after one another pretty good," Wright said. "They are struggling a little bit, but you never know. You still have to play the game. We're trying to get our players to buy into that it's not about who we are playing."

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