Who's Playing?: Oxford (8-1 [5-0 in 1-5A], #6 AP, #4 CL, #4 MP [#78 Nat'l], #1 in 5A [CL]) vs. Center Hill (5-5 [2-3 in 1-5A], NR)
What?: Sixth Region Game / Senior Night
Where?: Bobby Holcomb Field
When?: Friday, October 31st @ 7:00 PM
How can you keep yourself updated?: 95.5 FM Radio, Bullseye955.com, @OxChargerSports Twitter account
The Lowdown: Lots at stake for both teams entering this game. Oxford is looking to clinch the one-seed for the playoffs with a win Friday - done for the most part without Jack Abraham and Kyree White for much of region play. Center Hill after a dismal year last year especially defensively going 2-10 and winless in region play. They had their first ever 1-0 start to region play beating Lewisburg, but that was short lived losing their next three including a critical one against Saltillo hurting their playoff chances.
A win for the Mustangs would set up a big possibility of getting the four-seed - the only seed they can catch to make the playoffs. Oxford has to take care of business so they can relax for next week instead of needing to beat winless Lake Cormorant.
Center Hill's offense is not to be taken lightly, scoring more than 31 points per game. Mustang QB Danterius Ellington has a 64% completion percentage and just a single interception on the year - but that doesn't always mean wins. In games where he has had to throw it at least 21 times, Center Hill is 1-5 (4-0 when less). But like New Hope and Lewisburg, the QB loves to run it as he is their leading rusher. The Oxford secondary will be tested as Ellington has made at least 14 completions to four different receivers so far this season. Ellington will be tested as the Oxford secondary has forced 15 interceptions including at least one in every game played this season. Oxford has 20 total takeaways on the year.
The problem the Mustangs face is that Jack Abraham is expected to start coming back from his torn meniscus injury. Kyree White is also possible to return as well. If both start, the Mustang secondary will have their hands full. So looking a film of the last four games Oxford had will not do much good. Center Hill will need to get film of Oxford's earlier games to get an idea of how to stop Oxford.
Center Hill is giving up 33 points per game. The teams the Mustangs has beaten are a combined 13-33 (28% win percentage). The teams they have lost to are a combined 31-16 (66%). This will be high-scoring, but Oxford can keep up in a high scoring affair and Oxford's defense is coming off of a shutout of Clarksdale. Oxford is favored, but Center Hill will come out playing like their season is on the line - because they could very well be out of playoff contention if they lose this one.
For Oxford to Win, They Must: Reestablish the Offense - Ben Bianco has done all that he can do with this offense and Clarksdale made it predictable last week. Bianco did do a good job of not throwing the interception over the four games. Abraham needs to shake off the rust and get back in the groove for the playoff run.
Stop the Quarterback - He is their leading rusher and can throw it effectively. He makes the offense go. Frustrate him, you frustrate the whole offense.
For Center Hill to Win, They Must: Find Consistency On Offense - The Mustangs will need to keep up with the high-flying offense of Oxford. Establish something on offense that will work because if it is one thing Oxford knows how to do, it is score.
Get Some Stops / Turnovers - Center Hill has gotten just 10 takeaways this season, a reason their defense isn't quite up there yet. They are improved from last year, but they need to step it up and bring the A-game or they will put their offense in a pass-it-every-down mode which is playing into the Oxford D.
Other Notes: With a win, Oxford can clinch the one-seed from 1-5A and the Region Title. Oxford's defense has not allowed a point in six straight quarters.