Who's Playing?: Oxford (8-2 [6-0 in Region 1-5A], #3 AP, #5 CL, #4 MP, #1 in 5A [All polls]) vs. Lake Cormorant (6-3 [4-2], NR)
What?: Seventh and Last Region 2-5A Game / Senior Night
Where?: Bobby Holcomb Field
When?: Thursday, November 5th @ 7:00 PM
How can you keep yourself updated?: 95.5 FM Radio with Don Brooks and Denny Tosh on the call, Bullseye955.com, @OxChargerSports Twitter account (Link: HERE), LIVE online streaming thru WSN at this website HERE, thru the iScore Gamecast HERE (use ID 5038B9B22A for entry if needed) and the iScore Central App on Apple devices HERE (download the app for free using that link, which will send you to the Apple App Store, after downloading and starting the app, search Oxford and/or Lake Cormorant for the game)
The Lowdown: Another season finale, another non-eventful game that has no true bearing to the playoff picture.
Last year, Lake Cormorant struggled to win a game and Oxford clinched the 1-seed. This year, the Gators are in the playoffs, but cannot control their seed even if they were to win this game. Their seed rests on the result of the Clarksdale/Center Hill game tomorrow night. If Clarksdale wins, Lake Cormorant is the 4-seed. If Center Hill wins, Lake Cormorant is the 3-seed. Lake Cormorant will travel to Grenada if Clarksdale wins or to Ridgeland/Germantown winner if Center Hill wins.
I would imagine that both teams are going to treat this like a playoff game. Neither can afford to take a week off. In the past decade, teams that have "off" weeks or take a week off to rest starters do not tend to do well in the playoffs than those that do take a week to rest.
Lake Cormorant's offense and defense is a lot better than last year where they went 0-12. They snapped a 15-game losing streak against a Memphis team the second game of the year - they started the year losing to Senatobia who ended up later in the year beating Lafayette and winning 2-4A. The Gators average 33.1 PPG on offense lead with a 60/40 run-to-pass ratio. This team also gave West Point its best challenge in the region outside of Oxford and was in the game in the fourth quarter before faltering late to lose by 26.
The Gator D however coughs up 25 PPG. A team that gives up those kind of points to other opponents usually won't stop this Oxford team from scoring at least 40 points in the game. Stopping the Chargers will be a tall task. Every playmaker Oxford started against Center Hill last week besides Jack Abraham made it to the end zone.
Oxford would like to stay in rhythm and do what they have done throughout region play. Lake Cormorant has nothing to lose and everything to gain in this game.
For Oxford to Win, They Must: Continue to Score - Oxford threw up another 54 points against Center Hill last week. Execution in that department should give Oxford plenty to work with.
Execute on Special Teams - I gave that unit an A+ last week for not making one mistake in that department. Oxford recovered each of the six onside kicks the Mustangs attempted last week and made each extra point when Oxford decided to kick for one.
Stop the Run - Ideally Oxford would like to force the Gators to throw, but really this is the best set-offense Oxford will see unlike last week where the QB was a threat to run. The running game for the Gators has more than 2,000 yards on the season - more than 185 a game. About as much through the air.
For Lake Cormorant to Win, They Must: Match Oxford Score-for-Score - They have an offense that can do it. Averaging 375+ yards of offense a game isn't bad, but they likely need a 600 yard/0 turnover performance to try and win this game.
Stop Oxford Enough - Oxford scores a Touchdown two out of every three times they have gotten the ball in region play. To really have a chance, that needs to be cut in half.
Force Turnovers - Oxford has a grand total of two turnovers in six region games played. This is one of the biggest reasons why Oxford has scored 50+ in nearly every game lately. The Gators must force Oxford to cough up the ball.
Other Notes: Jack Abraham surpassed 10,000 yards last week on his touchdown pass to Ken Presley in the fourth quarter against Center Hill. Lake Cormorant has never defeated Oxford in Football.