Note* - For the sake of priority ranking, AP - which was polled by the media - will be used for ranking purposes. Maxpreps uses computer rankings. If the Clarion-Ledger or AP ranks one team - who uses just a top 10 - but the other is not ranked in the MPB poll - who uses a top 25 - the CL or AP will be used.
What?: Third Game of the Season
Where?: Bobby Holcomb Field @ OHS
When?: Friday, September 6th @ 7:00 PM
How can you keep yourself updated?: 95.5 FM Radio, Bullseye955.com, @OxChargerSports Twitter Account, Channel 97 (Metrocast) Monday @ 6 PM, LIVE online-streaming via the NFHS Network at this LINK.
The lowdown: This is the CLASSIC example of a "trap game" - right before crosstown rival Lafayette and the big region game against West Point right around the corner that will really tell the tenth-ranked Charger's season.
East Side of 3A was runner up to Charleston for North Half last season, so they are a team to not fall asleep on. Among the starting 5 games Oxford has scheduled, this would appear to be an easy W especially at home. Easy trap set up to fall into.
The one thing the Oxford coaching staff knows is that they cannot get complacent this week after getting two hard fought wins to begin the season against two defending state champions and looking ahead to crosstown rival Lafayette and the big showdown against West Point. East Side is next on the schedule and right now should be their only worry this week is to beat the Trojans. By the way, East Side is ranked in 3A and if voting extended past the MPB top 25 would be ranked 30th in this week's MPB poll. The Trojans are not cupcakes by any means can could very well have a chance at this ball game.
The first week, Oxford showed why DK Metcalf got the offer and committed to Ole Miss over the summer as a Sophomore by making a one-handed grab (that didn't count but...) and dragged 3-4 Jackson Prep defenders 15-yards across the centerpiece O-Bolt. Last week, 5 different players found the end zone including 4 reception Touchdowns and one mad 62-yard dash that upstarted the offense in the second half - and none of them were named Metcalf who was double-teamed all night.
Oxford has the simple task to stay focused and beat up on a 3A school they should handle with ease just basing off the first two weeks so far. This should be a nice warmup for what is ahead of the Chargers.
For Oxford to win, they must: Score First - In both games so far for Oxford, the opponent has scored first. The Oxford defense needs to start off better than the first two games have shown. The Oxford offense also needs to do its part and get going early so that the defense won't be as tight.
Win on Special Teams - Because East Side doesn't have any. In their box scores, they have quarter scores of 8-0-8-24 last week, which means the Trojans go for two after each Touchdown. East Side likely doesn't practice it much which could mean cheap points for Oxford if the Chargers can force them to punt and be able to block it. This should also help with field position all night.
Spread the Ball Around - Last week, Metcalf was double-teamed almost every single snap. Jack Abraham said that was fine, I'll go to Kyree White, Ethan Holmes, Zach Cousar, Glenn Gordon, and Joey Walden and make you pay - and I may have missed a few. If East Side has to be spread out because the names above are making play after play, that will open the run game.
For East Side to win, they must: Win the Turnover Battle - This is a key to almost every game, but Oxford so far is averaging 4 takeaways per game. In a typical high school game, a team gets 10-12 possessions. So that is 30-40% of all defensive possessions so far for Oxford that the offensive team coughed the ball up. East Side cannot do that if they want a chance to upset Oxford in their own house.
Do Not Tire Out - ...against the hurry-up offense of Oxford. That is exactly what happened to Starkville and the reason why Oxford won last week. Starkville's offense started making lots of mistakes later on in the game and made bad decisions turning into turnovers. The Starkville defense was also starting to get gassed late in the third quarter where Oxford took control and their effect of the hurry-up offense really affected Starkville.
Take Risks (specifically on defense) - because with only 31 players on the team, I doubt the Trojans can match-up with Oxford's Wide Receiver weapons they have. East Side needs to jump routes and try to get the interception - because that may be their only chance of stopping Oxford beyond the Chargers shooting themselves in the foot with self-inflected mistakes.
Other Notes: Oxford has 8 players so far that have scored 9 Touchdowns in the first two games - the only player with multiple TD's so far this season is Jarius Barnes (1 Rushing, 1 Receiving). Of Oxford's 5 scoring drives last week, 4 were drives of at least 70+ yards (3 were 80+ yards).