Who's Playing?: Oxford (9-1 [6-0 in 1-5A], #6 AP, #4 CL, #4 MP [#77 Nat'l], #1 in 5A [All polls]) vs. Lake Cormorant (0-10 [0-6 in 1-5A], NR)
What?: Last Regular Season Game / Seventh Region Game
Where?: Lake Cormorant High School Football Field
When?: Friday, November 7th @ 7:00 PM
How can you keep yourself updated?: 95.5 FM Radio, Bullseye955.com, @OxChargerSports Twitter account
The Lowdown: Oxford clinched the 1-seed from 1-5A last week defeating Center Hill 48-21. Lake Cormorant has just struggled and everything in the world looks like they will finish the season without winning a single game with clearly their hardest game of the year coming last. At this point last year, they still had a chance to make the 2013 playoffs. The Gators in six of their games this season has been within two possessions or less, two within just one possession.
Their offense has been the problem much of the season. They did score 34-35 points against Saltillo, Lewisburg, and Center Hill - but those three teams are the worst scoring defenses in the region. They haven't topped 20 points in any of their other games. Their defense is not that bad but with an offense that can't do much, that just makes for a bad team and a defense that because of their situation gives up 30-40 points a game.
I expect Oxford to start Jack Abraham simply because he was rusty last week (was 17-for-38) and I expect him to play until the game gets out of reach even though the game is worth squat. Abraham needs to establish some type of a rhythm heading into the playoffs. Kyree White also coming off of an injury dropped a few balls that he usually doesn't drop. The defense has done its usual job and would like to build on a good performance entering the playoffs and what better chance to do it against than a team that hasn't won?
Neither team has really anything to gain or lose of their situation. Oxford sat Kenzie Phillips last week due to a bum leg. I fully expect him to be either limited or not play at all in preparation of the playoffs. Oxford has not had a fully healthy offense since the Crosstown Classic. This may not be the blowout everyone is expecting just because Lake Cormorant is 0-for, but their morale can't be good anymore for a team that really expected to do a lot better than not win a single game.
For Oxford to Win, They Must: Continue to Establish a Rhythm - Jack Abraham was below 50% last week coming off of the injury. All the weapons are back in the passing game. We know what this offense is capable of. This is a nice warm-up game for the playoffs to really show it off.
Play a Strong Defensive Game - It has been up and down on defense this year. One game they can't tackle, next game they only allow a single-digit score or a shutout. This defense needs to finish the drill here rolling into the postseason.
For Lake Cormorant to Win, They Must: Get Some Stops - They have nothing more to lose and everything to gain. Take risks on defense, read where it might go and play the game of your life. A win would put a big shine on the worst season in their short school history.
Find Consistent Offense - What has been an issue all year. The Gators aren't playing after this week so it is time to pull out the playbook a run everything you can think of to pull a win from the magician's hat. It would also help if some normal plays worked on a consistent basis as well.
Other Notes: Lake Cormorant has lost 12 straight games dating back to last year. Oxford is Region Champions in back-to-back years for the first time since the 1994-95 seasons. Games to watch Friday: Germantown vs. Ridgeland, Pearl vs. Callaway, Neshoba Central vs. Vicksburg. Dependant of the outcome of those games will decide who Oxford will host in the first round of the playoffs.