Playoffs are in the air

Published 8:03 pm Thursday, October 23, 2008

Can you smell it in the air?

No, not that it is starting to get cold, but that the high school football playoff season is right around the corner.

Two local teams from Covington County, the Straughn Tigers (7-1, 5-1 in Class 3A, Region 1) and the Opp Bobcats (5-3, 5-1 in Class 4A, Region 2) are on their way to the coveted playoffs.

Straughn secured its spot with a 47-14 win over Calhoun on Oct. 10 and Opp clinched a spot in its 20-18 victory over Ashford a week earlier on Oct. 3.

Both teams have the capability to go far in the playoffs due to assets that have served them well in the season so far.

For the Tigers, senior quarterback Ryne Taylor, senior running back Andrew Stokes and senior wide receiver Jakim Felton have all contributed to the collective success on the team.

As of this week, Taylor has completed 90 passes for 1,300 yards and 85 carries for 435 yards; Stokes has 90 carries for 535 yards and Felton has 28 receptions for 378 yards.

The Bobcats have sophomore running back Richard Davis, sophomore running back Quadir Kincaid and junior back Josh Scarborough leading the charge.

Combined, the three have rushed for a total of 1,873 yards. Davis has 130 carries for 836 yards, Kincaid has 67 carries for 487 yards and Scarborough has 100 carries for 550 yards.

Even though both are successful, there are some differences and similarities on both teams that have helped lead to their progress this season.

It seems that Straughn is a stronger team offensively, scoring an average of 41.5 points per game, while Opp has scored 26.63 points per game.

On the defensive front, the teams look more similar. Opp is allowing 26.13 points per game and Straughn has given up 25.38 points per game.

However, Opp has also shown the ability to come through in the clutch to win close games. Two of the Bobcats’ region wins are by a combined five points (24-21 OT win over Holtville and 20-18 win over Ashford). The ability to win close games is something that should serve Opp well, come playoff time.

Straughn’s offense has been so potent that the Tigers have averaged a two-touchdown win in each game this season, which is pretty incredible.

There are more reasons why both teams are successful — I’ll get into that more in depth in a column closer to the playoffs.

The reason why I have come to like reporting on high school football games so much is that they are unpredictable a lot of the time and that is what makes it exciting.

So, as the regular season wraps up next Friday night, both teams will shift their focus to the playoffs.