Football may be ending this season for the Weir Lions and East Oktibbeha Titans, but both hope there are still games to be played beyond this year.
With the future of both teams uncertain, the players are just looking forward to putting it all aside and competing one last time at 7 p.m. in Crawford.
“(Tonight) is going to be an emotional game,” East Oktibbeha coach Randy Brooks said. “The seniors have been playing hard at home all season. They are just looking forward to going out there and closing the season strong.”
Weir has a little more certainty of where they will be going should this be the end, but East Oktibbeha's situation is not as clear.
With budgets being tight, Weir faces consolidation with fellow Choctaw County school Ackerman, while East Oktibbeha's future is in the hands of the Mississippi Department of Education.
The Titans may not know what's next for the school, but they do know that Friday night will be the end of their season. They are not eligible for postseason play because of their record.
“Even though we know this is the last game this year, we are still going to compete hard,” Brooks said. “I am looking forward to watching my guys compete.”
Both teams enter today’s competition following region losses. East Oktibbeha (2-8, 1-6) fell to Nanih Waiya 28-6, while Weir (2-8, 1-6) returns to action after a 14-7 loss to West Lowndes.
In other area competitions, West Oktibbeha travels to Pelahatchie to close the regular season, while Ackerman, Eupora and East Webster are all competing in the first round of playoffs. Ackerman welcomes Broad Street, Eupora hosts Coahoma County and East Webster takes to the road to face Strayhorn. All games are set for 7 p.m.
West Oktibbeha (8-2, 6-1) at Pelahatchie (8-2, 6-1)
Similarities for West Oktibbeha and Pelahatchie go beyond the records.
Prior to today’s game, the teams each had one regional loss, both falling to Noxapater. West Oktibbeha lost its battle 57-6, while Pelahatchie fell to the Tigers 52-20.
Even though the Timberwolves’ record qualifies them for the postseason, they will have to sit them out. On Oct. 23, the Mississippi Department of Education pulled the school’s accreditation meaning all out-of-conference athletic activity would be banned.
“This is our last game,” West Oktibbeha coach Adam Lowrey said. “Pelahatchie is strong up front and runs the ball downhill, so we have to be ready to stop the run. We have put the Noxapater game behind us, because Pelahatchie is our next game.”
With both teams possessing the same record, West Oktibbeha is hoping for its final game of the season it can make up for last season's heartbreaking 42-40 loss.
Broad Street (6-4, 3-2) at Ackerman (8-3, 4-1)
In the opening round of Class 2A playoffs, the Indians welcome the Jaguars of Broad Street to town.
“Broad Street is real athletic,” Ackerman coach Adam Dillinger said. “They have a good, athletic quarterback and everything pretty much starts and stops with him offensively. Defensively, they are fast, we are going to be on top of our game and do a great job of stopping them.”
While the two teams do not face each other on a regular basis, they do have some familiarity. In the second round of the 2011 playoffs, the Indians brought home a 29-0 victory, eliminating the Jaguars from the postseason.
Ackerman enters the match following a convincing 42-7 win over Hamilton, while Broad Street is coming off a 16-12 loss to Strayhorn.
The winner of the game will face the winner of the Okolona-West Bolivar game on Nov. 9.
Coahoma County (2-7, 2-3)
at Eupora (10-1, 5-0)
After posting a nearly perfect regular season, the Eupora Eagles host Coahoma County for a playoff game.
“Coahoma County has a big wide receiver," Eupora coach Junior Graham. "They like to get the ball down field and run different formations all night. We just need to stay on the same page to have a good game.
We have good senior leadership that knows you need to put the past behind you and just play. When the playoffs start, everyone has the same record and if you lose one game, you go home. We have had a good week of practice. Now we are just ready to go out there and compete.”
Eupora is hoping to continue its six-game win streak, while Coahoma County is looking to avenge its 29-0 loss to Strayhorn.
Upon conclusion tonight, the winner will face the victor of the Baldwyn-South Delta game.
East Webster (2-7, 1-5)
At Strayhorn (5-4, 4-2)
Excitement is in the air in the eastern part of Webster County as the Wolverines prepare for their first round of the postseason.
“We are excited about making the playoffs,” East Webster coach Doug Wilson said. “At the beginning of the year, we made this one of our goals. We are going against a team who is also excited about being in the playoffs. They have two great running backs that we are going to have work to contain.”
East Webster enters today following a 37-7 loss to Eupora, while Strayhorn is hoping to keep the winning streak going following back to back wins against Coahoma County and Broad Street.
Following completion of tonight’s game, the victor will face either Simmons or Bruce on Nov. 9.