Choctaw County looks to get back on track against Choctaw Central

Staff Writer

Coach Ben Ashley is ready to get his team back on the field after last Friday night’s loss, but he knows as well as anyone that it’s not how his team starts the season.

The Choctaw County Chargers had early-season losses to East Webster and Eupora before Class 3A, Region 4 play in 2017 and ended up going 5-0 in district and winning seven-straight games before finally falling two games short of a state championship last year.

So the 33-7 loss to Winona last week doesn’t worry Ashley right now and it doesn’t worry his players.

“I want to win all of these games, but I’m not worried about losing a game in week two to a non-division opponent,” Ashley stated. “I don’t pay attention to whether or not it’s a measuring stick game or whatever and we just want to get better every week to prepare for our district. Our goal is to get better every game and if we’re doing that, we’re going to be in position.”

The Chargers ran into a buzz saw a week ago to the defending Class 2A North State champions. Winona has since consolidated with Montgomery County and become a 3A team and appears ready to compete in that classification for a championship as well.

In that sense, Ashley knew that he was playing a good team. He’s not going to take too much away from that game other than the fact his team was up against a great opponent and that there were some things to clean up.
After watching film, he identified the areas that the team needs to hone in on moving forward.

“Right now we’re not bad in the secondary and we knew that we’d be good there,” Ashley said. “We’re not as good as we want to be up front and we’re going to try out a rotation and give kids some opportunities. We’re going to go with some kids that have given good effort.

“Offensively, we never got into a rhythm the other night. I’ve been playing a lot of players and I’m going to scale back on that. We’ll focus on the guys that we’re going to be playing the most down the stretch and start to get some continuity.”

Ashley and the Chargers will have tonight to showcase themselves and get back on track this week as they host Choctaw Central at Dale Davidson Field.

The Warriors out of Philadelphia are a team that has traditionally struggled on the gridiron, but Ashley said they will be a tough out this season. Choctaw Central is 0-2 to begin the season but had a tough 43-35 defeat to Union and a 27-6 loss on the road at Cherokee (N.C.) last week.

“They like to throw the football, but they’re pretty balanced," Ashley said of Central. "They are improved over the last year so we need to play well, start fast and put the pressure on them. Our kids like to play football and they’re ready for the next game. I don’t anticipate any kind of hangover. I expect them to treat it as the biggest game of the week.”

Game time Thursday night in Ackerman is slated for 7 p.m.