Who's playing: Oxford (1-0, NR) vs. Charleston (1-0, #12 MPB, #13 Maxpreps, #1 in 3A)
Where: Bobby Holcomb Filed @ OHS
When: Friday, August 24th @ 7:30 PM Kickoff
How can you keep up?: 95.5 FM Radio (Locally), Bullseye95.5 Website (LINK) (w/ live radio from the internet), 103.3 FM ESPN Radio (Locally around the Charleston, MS area) OxChargerSports Twitter Account (LINK) (Follow Me if you are not already), Oxford Score Updates Page (using the hashtag #themhills over Twitter) (LINK), on the MHSAA TV website (LINK), Channel 97 on Monday @ 6:00 PM (Tape Delay)
The lowdown: Oxford defeated Charleston last year 38-25 at Charleston. That was the Tigers last loss in Football. They have since went on a 15-game winning streak including winning a 3A State Title last year - their first in school history. Last week, Charleston was able to hold off Southaven's 2nd half assault by the score of 34-26.
Charleston has the target of being a State Champion square on its back, however Oxford has the target square on their backs of having bragging rights over them in the past year. There is no doubt both teams want to win this game. Charleston's other loss was to the same Southaven team they beat last week. The Tigers as previously mentioned accomplished their revenge of Southaven last week.
Oxford is coming off a hard-fought 28-22 win against Grenada in which Oxford spotted them 12 points in the 1st Quarter before having to outscore them 28-10 in the final three quarters including the first 21 unanswered. That cannot happen again if the Chargers expect to win this game.
Charleston runs a similar offense like Grenada does - an option/run-happy offense. That does not mean Charleston cannot pass the ball. Oxford has to do a better job of defending the run like they did after Grenada's first possession in the first half. When Charleston does go to the air, they cannot allow the Tiger Wide Receivers to beat them like Grenada did in their only other offensive Touchdown drive last week where it set Grenada up in point-blank range of the end zone.
Charleston's main threat at WR is #7 Tilmus Bradford - and so far appears to be the only threat as he caught all 4 passes last week, 3 of which he found the end zone. He also happens to be the Tigers punter AND punt returner - he is no one-trick pony. They will also use #2 Allen Spurlock and #6 Kameron Myers at Running Back. #5 Jalen Haywood is at QB for Charleston. All three of them saw near equal carries last week and rushed for a combined 30 carries for 169 yards.
For Oxford to win they must: Make Charleston Drive the Ball - Meaning the Charger Defense needs to make Charleston run 10, 15, 20 plays before they reach the end zone, not all in one big play. Odds are if Charleston has to run THAT many plays in one possession, eventually a play or two might get repetitive and Oxford will catch on or Charleston makes a mistake (via a penalty, a turnover) - it is hard in any football game for any team to keep possession for double-digit plays and not make one mistake.
The Charger Wideouts need to Put Glue on their Gloves - no not literally, but the reason QB Parker Adamson has two interceptions on his record is because his own teammates tipped the ball in the air trying to catch the ball and fell into the waiting hands of the Grenada Defense - one was returned for a Touchdown. A good team like Charleston will do the very same - they intercepted Southaven 5 times last week and is a big reason why the Tigers come into Oxford 1-0.
...and finally Do Not Look Ahead - Obviously we know what is coming up next Thursday...
For Charleston to win they must: Establish the Running Game - It's their bread and butter every year and this year is no different. If they are able to get 8,9 Chargers in the box, the passing game will get wide open - an area the Chargers have shown trouble in through the Jamboree and with Grenada. Of Charleston's 5 Touchdowns last week, 3 was through the air.
The Tiger Defense needs to Keep their Eyes on Adamson - Charleston cannot focus too much on his arm and where the ball is going, he may keep it himself. Against both Shannon and Grenada, Adamson has been able to rip off a double-digit yard gains on multiple occasions for some very key first downs. Their running attack with their actual Running Backs cannot be overlooked either; it is what makes Oxford very dangerous on offense.
Weather: 7:30 PM: 83*F - Partly Cloudy to Mostly Clear (No Chance of Rain) - Winds SSE @ 4-7 MPH, temperatures will drop to the mid-70s by the end of the game. Wear warm clothing. Check Weather.com's Hourly Forecast (by clicking "Hour-by-Hour" link below) for Friday Night for changes in the forecast, they are updated hourly.
Other Notes: Charleston currently holds the 4th longest win streak in the state at 15 games (tied with Simpson Academy), Olive Branch (16), Jackson Academy (21) and Lafayette (33) have longer streaks. Oxford has won 4 of the last 5 against Charleston. The last 3 contests was decided by double digits.
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