The CL's last poll was November 5th until the end of the State Championships when they will release a final poll, ditto for MPB on November 13. Maxpreps updates their computer rankings every week on Sunday Night.
Note* - I will use the team's seed instead of any poll as a "rank" during the course of the playoffs.
What?: First Round of the MHSAA 5A Playoffs
Where?: Bobby Holcomb Field @ OHS
When?: Friday, November 15th @ 7:00 PM
How can you keep yourself updated?: 95.5 FM Radio, Bullseye955.com, @OxChargerSports Twitter Account, Channel 97 (Metrocast) Monday @ 6 PM.
The Lowdown: Playoff time. Oxford is looking solid going into the playoffs. Vicksburg comes in losing 4 of their last 5 with their lone win coming last week needed to get to this point against 1-win Neshoba Central - whose one win came against winless Lanier.
The feeling is just there that Vicksburg is about to travel 215 miles just to get punched in the mouth and then be sent 215 miles home and hang up their jerseys for the year. The Gators have struggled against the other three teams from 2-5A that made the playoffs (2-seed Pearl by 30, 3-seed Ridgeland by 30, and Callaway by 19). If they are struggling against those teams, it'll be interesting to see how Oxford will do. If it has been much like any of the last six games Oxford has played, 2-5A may not have anything much to offer.
Vicksburg does not have accurate stats on Maxpreps, and any stats that have been put up stopped when they stopped winning. If there was an indicator, it means they run the ball a lot (normally between 2-3 backs that tote the ball). They do throw it, but not as often as Oxford's last two opponents. Oxford's run defense has been pretty top notch this season, even when the quarterback is able to run the football it hasn't been for much. Vicksburg's QB is the Head Coach's son.
On top of that - much like many other teams Oxford has faced this season - they don't have the defense to stop Oxford who has scored at least 30 points in every single game this season. The Gators also only have 42 players listed on the roster - so if the hurry-up pace gets to them, there is no depth behind them. Another big issue for Vicksburg. Tack on the fact they have not heard much about Oxford beyond being in the rankings most of the season or even have seen any film entering last Friday - so preparing for the Charger offense will be difficult.
So Oxford should dispatch them easily, they have the depth, the match-ups on both sides on the ball, and usually solid on special teams. Just take care of business and wait to see who comes out of Pearl for the next round after the Pirates and West Point beat each other up.
For Oxford to Win, They Must: Do What You Do - Jack Abraham, DK Metcalf, Kenzie Phillips and company are just lethal and it has been proven you can't stop them all. Find something they aren't trying to cover and that will be the death of the Gator's season.
Stuff the Run Game - Oxford front-5,6,7 (whatever they decide to use for this game) has been solid on the run defense all year - mainly because of the stellar secondary allowing most offenses to condense themselves to the run game making the defense load up the box to stop it when they want to.
Start Fast - Meaning take this game seriously and do what you are capable of not making any mistakes via penalty, turnover and what not. When Oxford gets out to a 28+ point lead, that's when the rest usually comes on both sides of the ball - and that is a premium in the playoffs. If this game can be decided by halftime, that will be great going into next week whoever Oxford faces.
For Vicksburg to Win, They Must: Find Some Consistent Offense - That has been difficult to do against Oxford this year. There is a reason Oxford's defense took up 6 of the 11 available spots on the 1st Team Region 1-5A defense, it's that good. Vicksburg needs to find something that works and stick to it if it means keeping Jack Abraham and company on the sidelines.
Keep the Energy Up for 48 Minutes - their depth might get to them, so they need to somehow find the stamina to stay on the field and stay with Oxford while playing defense. Not one team has held Oxford to less than 30 points this year. The Gators need to be the first if they want any chance. Field Goals - not Touchdowns.
No Mistakes on Special Teams: Oxford is good on the kickoff, solid punting game, block a few kicks, solid Field Goal Unit...if you screw up on Special Teams, Oxford will make you pay like they did twice last week against Lake Cormorant that put that game to bed early.
Other Notes: If Oxford wins, they will either HOST Pearl or TRAVEL to West Point for the 2nd Round. This is based on the number of home games a team plays - whoever has played the fewest has the host spot for the 2nd Round (if a tie - it goes to highest seed).