Oak Grove hosts Meridian for first of three big home games

By CAMAL PETRO,

The Oak Grove Warriors survived last week’s intense rivalry matchup with Petal, but things aren’t getting any easier. They still have Meridian, Brandon and Pearl on the schedule, but all three of those are at home. It starts Friday night when the Wildcats visit Warrior Field.

Oak Grove (5-1, 2-0 in Region 3-6A) has looked impressive in its five wins. Besides a hiccup in a loss to Hattiesburg, which no team has been able to compete with, the Warriors have posted four dominating wins before last week’s nail-biter with the Panthers.

In the end, Oak Grove made the right adjustments to score two second-half touchdowns and walked away with the win. However, penalties added up and almost cost Oak Grove the game.

“Some of them were just stupid penalties that our guys have to keep their composure on, and some of them were just them playing hard,” Oak Grove coach Drew Causey said. “One was a guy diving trying to make a play and had a penalty on that, so we just have to keep working on it every day.”

The weapons Oak Grove possesses shined in moments Friday night. Junior Tavion Smith snagged a one-handed, 25-yard touchdown in the first quarter, and sophomore E.J. Newell kept his legs moving while a host of Petal players tried to tackle him on a big fourth down conversion.

It was also apparent that the Warriors’ two best receivers weren’t on the field. While players like Smith, Newell, junior Liam Breithaupt and junior Nick Milsap have shown flashes, the inconsistency shows at times from the playmaker group.

But once those positions show more stability, led by senior quarterback John Rhys Plumlee, the Warriors’ offense will be even harder to stop. The Wildcats (3-3, 1-1) defense will try to stop them this week, though.

“They have a couple of defensive linemen who are really good players and they have a couple of linebackers who are talented. Basically, they have 11 good athletes,” Causey said of Meridian’s defense.

The Wildcats picked up a win over Jim Hill before losing to Pearl last week to begin region play. They also lost to Tupelo in the season opener and Central (Phenix City, Alabama) while beating Davidson (Mobile) and Noxubee County.

Offensively, senior quarterback Tevarrius Adams leads the team in rushing while passing for 1,013 yards, nine touchdowns and six interceptions with a 50 percent passing percentage.

Meridian has 11 other players who have carried the ball this season, but only one player, other than Adams, has more than 12 carries. Senior Rodriquz Mosley has the bulk of the rushing attempts, totaling 61 carries for 264 yards and just one score. Senior Kendrick Brown has 459 receiving yards and seven touchdowns on 19 receptions, while three other players have at least 100 receiving yards.

“We have them charted with a lot of different formations, so it’s a bunch of stuff that we have to get ready for,” Causey said. “We have to be able to contain (Adams) and keep him from getting loose.”