Who's Playing?: Oxford (3-2 [1-0 in Region 1-5A], #4 AP/CL, #6 MP, #1 in 5A [MP/CL]) @ Saltillo (0-6 [0-1], NR)
What?: Second Region 2-5A Game
Where?: Bobby Holcomb Field
When?: Friday, October 2nd @ 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), thru the iScore Gamecast HERE (use ID 7DF28156B0 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 Saltillo for the game)
The Lowdown: Oxford has survived the front-end of the schedule that was filled with top-heavy teams. Every team Oxford has played to date has been ranked either in the Clarion Ledger Super 10 poll and/or the AP HS Top 10 poll and/or the Top 10 in the Maxpreps Computer poll at the time when Oxford played them. (Southaven - #6 MP, Starkville - #6 CL/MP, Madison Central - #4 AP / #8 MP/CL, Lafayette - #9 AP, West Point - #10 AP/MP, #9 CL) Three of those five teams are still in the Top 10 (Starkville, Madison Central, Lafayette has just entered the CL Super 10 this week)
After playing such a schedule to start the year, they are about to play a team that has yet to win a game this season. That doesn't mean Oxford should treat them any differently. Playing that hard schedule should have prepared them for this game, the game before, and the five games after that: Region play. This game counts towards the region standings and Oxford's goal of a third straight region championship and the coveted 1-seed.
Oxford offensively played their best game of the season last week scoring 43 points on just 35 snaps. Truly it was less than that as the last 1/4 of the snaps Oxford was not trying to score but to burn out the clock. Abraham averaged 20.4 yards per attempt last week. The only reason it wasn't more was that Oxford's defense couldn't get off the field. The Charger D was out on the field for 80 plays. They only allowed 6/16 conversions on third down, but on the 10 fourth down opportunities West Point had, they went for it seven times and converted five of them. If Oxford had stopped just a couple more fourth down chances, that score would have really been a really rare rout of the West Point football team.
Saltillo is a team that isn't that poor on offense. Their QB hasn't thrown but one interception in 128 pass attempts. In addition, they have only coughed up the ball just five times this season and are scoring a respectable 20 PPG. They don't make mistakes and can move the ball when they get going. Their area of concern is their defense, and that is not good news if they want to avoid an 0-7 start to the season. A veteran offense like Oxford's will rip a defense giving up 40 PPG apart, especially through the air.
Oxford should be careful on the road. This isn't a normal winless team. This isn't what Lake Cormorant was last year when Oxford put up 35 in the first quarter.
For Oxford to Win, They Must: Get the Ball to the Playmakers - Abraham did an excellent job of that last week, and managed to save a few plays in the process only having to run their offense for about 25-28 plays last week. DK Metcalf had his best game last week as well catching two touchdown passes and had more than 100 receiving yards.
Be Able to Stop the Run - Oxford allowed nearly 400 rushing yards last week out of a shotgun-look of the Wing-T West Point ran last week. They did managed to force two turnovers and one was really big that ultimately decided the game last week.
For Saltillo to Win, They Must: Put Pressure on Jack - They need to sell out on the pass. If West Point didn't have the DBs to stop Oxford, I doubt Saltillo does. The Tigers need to blitz and make Abraham get rid of the football quicker than he wants to. If they can't, they must...
Match Oxford Score-for-Score - Saltillo needs an explosive breakthrough on offense if they want a chance in this game and make the playoffs. The way it has gone so far this season, Saltillo needs some good vibes for the rest of the season.
Other Notes: Abraham Tracker - He needs 1,458 yards for 10,000 career passing yards and 13 touchdown passes for 100. Drew Bianco suffered an injury in the previous game against West Point and is not only likely out for the season, but also for his career. Bianco has scored a rushing touchdown in every game this season including last week.