Oxford (2-0, 0-0) at Southaven (1-1, 0-0)
The Oxford Chargers are coming off a bye week coach Chris Cutcliffe elected to keep even after COVID-19 cut their first two games out of the season. The Southaven Chargers are coming off a 27-0 loss to Bartlett, Tenn. at home last week.
It just doesn’t seem Oxford is going to be able to play at Southaven without something going amiss. This time it’ll be just the 25 percent capacity. Last time Oxford went to Southaven, they played on a Saturday because the night before, lightning just wouldn’t seem to go away in the area and ultimately made the move to postpone the game.
This year, weather will not be an issue as it will be clear skies. Southaven has scored just two touchdowns so far in the two games, with both coming against county rival Center Hill three weeks ago, that puts their offensive output at a putrid seven points per game. Last season, Oxford thumped Southaven 45-8 at Bobby Holcomb Field.
Southaven is led by quarterback Jordan Hibbler who in the Center Hill game was 17-for-31 for 166 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Their total stats on each website are incomplete as they have no stats for their game against Bartlett. It does appear that they will try to throw the ball more with those 31 pass attempts. There are no rushing attempts posted from that game oddly enough, which usually means the team tries to play the gamesmanship card, and 99 times out of 100 when a team does that, it means they aren’t as good as one would believe.
Oxford is coming off a game two weeks ago where they scored 27 unanswered against Lafayette. So far, Oxford is averaging 35 points per game. The number Southaven can’t hide is the fact they are giving up 17 points per game. Not bad so far through two games, but it does mean there are holes, which Oxford traditionally has done very well to exploit in the past.
Through two games, Oxford has allowed 21 points per game, which isn’t up to their normal standard, but Oxford is starting 10 new players on defense this year and they did pitch a shutout against Lafayette in the second half two weeks ago. This is the week to see improvement against an offense that has had trouble scoring.
The game can be heard on the radio on 95.5 FM. A limited number of tickets will be available at the gate if they are not all pre-sold before Friday. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
Lafayette (2-1, 0-0) at West Point (2-1, 0-0)
The Lafayette Commodores is coming off a much needed rebound game routing Mooreville 42-7 heading into this matchup against four-time defending 5A state champion West Point Green Wave. West Point last week defeated Noxubee County 31-15. Last season, West Point narrowly won both matchups. The Green Wave won 28-24 in the regular season and defeated Lafayette in the playoff rematch 21-14. In both cases, West Point was trailing at halftime before coming back to win.
This is a game where offense will be expected this year. Both teams has established solid offensive output and not the best defensive output. Lafayette on offense averages 28.3 points per game while West Point averages 27.3 per game. Defensively, Lafayette has allowed 15.3 points per game while West Point has allowed 23 per game, but of Lafayette’s 46 points allowed so far, 33 came against Oxford.
Tyrus Williams is now out of his suspension and will be a full go against West Point. Williams by far and away makes the Lafayette offense very lethal to deal with. In just four plays last week against Mooreville, the Trooper defense saw just how lethal he can be as Williams threw for a touchdown and ran in for one. This is the most amount of passing Lafayette has done in many, many years as they have traditionally have been a run-happy team. Lafayette hasn’t gotten away from the ground game completely, but they are much more balanced with the established passing game.
West Point on the other hand isn’t shying away to what won them four straight championships, the ground game on offense. The Green Wave has been using a two quarterback system, but unlike Oxford’s method where both quarterbacks can throw the ball at any time, one West Point quarterback (Christopher Ivy) is more mobile while the other (Corbin Kelly) is more of a passing quarterback. Both quarterbacks have shown they will do the opposite of what they do to keep the opposing defense honest. Cameron Young is West Point’s primary back this year. In his two games they have stats for (at Starkville and vs. Noxubee County), he has toted the ball 48 times for 363 yards and two touchdowns. West Point’s stats against Tupelo in their second game of the season is absent for whatever reason.
Defensively, much like Oxford so far this season, is not up to their standards. Allowing 23 points per game is a little alarming for a West Point defense. It should be noted that they allowed 40 points to a very potent Starkville team in their season opener with Yellow Jacket star quarterback Luke Altymer calling the shots, but just 14 and 15 to Tupelo and Noxubee County. For Lafayette, they did a much better job tackling last week against Mooreville, but West Point is a completely different animal.
This should be another close game, and maybe this time Lafayette could pull this one out. The Commodores know they can hang with the best, but can they finish off the best in a 48 minute contest? We will find out Friday night. A win by Lafayette would mean a very good start when trying to get that coveted home game in the playoffs.
The game can be heard locally on the radio at 105.1 FM. The game will be live streamed by Lafayette on their streaming channel https://lafco.live at a cost of $10 for the game. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.