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 AP/CL will be used. MPB poll will be used if teams are ranked outside the AP/CL top 10
What?: Third Region Game / Homecoming Game
Where?: Bobby Holcomb Field
When?: Friday, October 11th @ 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: Just looking on paper, this will be a rude 5A welcome wagon Oxford will bring. This is Homecoming and just by comparing the Patriots schedule so far and their results, Oxford should win...big.
Lewisburg has played:
- Desoto Central & lost 37-14 (who Lafayette beat 21-6, Saltillo beat 24-21 and Lake Cormorant lost to them but to a closer 22-15 and the Gators just beat Lewisburg)
- Corinth & lost (Lafayette beat them 28-12 and Oxford played them in the Jamboree)
- Independence & won 43-0 (but against a team coming off back-to-back 0-11 years)
- Center Hill and Lake Cormorant in region play in two close matches - but the two are a combined 1-3 in region play and their one win was against Lewisburg by Lake Cormorant and had to beat 0-2 Center Hill in overtime.
Oxford and Lewisburg may not have any common opponents they have played yet, but Oxford has other opponents to compare the teams Lewisburg has played - and Oxford won against those opponents by a wide margin.
The Patriots QB has done a fine job of not making mistakes to turn the ball over (just 2 INT on the year), but on the back end has not thrown many TD passes (just 2 this year). Lewisburg relies on 3 different RBs for their rushing yards, so Oxford can't focus in on one player like they have for the past three games, that may give Oxford a little trouble if there is anything for this defense to work on. The past three weeks the gameplan defensively has been pretty simple. Now might get just a hair bit more complex. The Patriots average less than 200 yards rushing per game and do not rely on one running back, doing it by committee.
This might be the easiest game Oxford may play all year. They still though need to come out and play hard because the remaining schedule after what happened with the rest of 1-5A last week just got a little harder. Oxford travels to New Hope next week where bias and (dare I say it) the classless fans and players that typically show up will be in full force. Clarksdale is also on the horizon who are in a surprising position of being in first place with Oxford after beating West Point last week.
This has the makings of another Trap Game - but I don't believe this Trap is strong enough to hold Oxford in even if they fall into it. Oxford just needs to take care of business this week. While Oxford does not need to look ahead and get tripped up at home, one must think the next two weeks after this will determine Oxford's fate in 1-5A.
For Oxford to Win, They Must: Play Solid D - Lewisburg throws it a little more than Saltillo, West Point, Lafayette, and East Side does. So while Oxford still must stop the run, they can't just load up the box and stuff them. The Charger Secondary must be ready for the pass on non-traditional throwing downs - something they really haven't needed to do since playing Starkville and Prep early in the year. Likely a big reason why Oxford has only given up 109 passing yards over the last four games.
Get the Offense Going Again - Why on earth would I say that? We are scoring at least 30 points every game. The thing is the offense hasn't really been that smooth sailing. Kenzie Phillips has picked up the slack on offense since DK Metcalf went out. Abraham has only thrown 3 TD passes in his absence. Metcalf will return this game, and that should bring some focus back to him with the threat he brings. He really makes this offense run a lot smoother when he can play with the match-up problems he possess.
Take Care of Business - Lewisburg starts a lot of young players like Oxford, however, unlike the Chargers, they play like they do too. The Patriots really has to play a perfect game to have a chance against Oxford to win on the road. Lewisburg will make mistakes, how Oxford takes advantage will be key. Oxford needs to put them away when they do.
For Lewisburg to Win, They Must: Stop the Offense - Kenzie Phillips for Oxford is coming off 200 yard rushing games in two of the last three games, Mont Dean is the only player in the last 8 years that has posted those numbers (without much of a passing attack mind you). That is scary, considering Oxford's passing attack will be upgraded with the return of DK Metcalf. The Patriots is already having a hard enough time without him returning trying to figure out this offense.
Find Ways To Score - The Patriot offense has scored more than 30 points in regulation just once against the aforementioned team that went 0-11 in back-to-back years this season. Oxford has scored at least 30 points in every game. Lewisburg can't afford to punt the ball or turn it over, or this game will be over quickly. They must find success on offense.
Play Like You Have Nothing To Lose - The Patriots aren't expected to win this game, so they need to play like they don't have anything to lose. The best thing they can get out of this game is experience of what to expect in the years to come in 5A. If they can keep it close at all, they should take some chances and they might just shock somebody.
Other Notes: This is the first ever meeting between Lewisburg and Oxford in Football. This is the first opponent Oxford has faced this year that is not ranked overall (at the time of the game) and/or ranked in the Top 10 in their classification in at least one poll. Oxford has won every game this season by double-digits.