The Oak Grove Warriors and the Terry Bulldogs have played some classics the last couple of seasons. From a last-second field goal in 2016 to give Oak Grove the win to Terry pulling off a one-point upset win last season, there’s been no shortage of drama.
The Warriors (6-1, 3-0 in Region 3-6A) have had a good start to region play, but the toughest part of the schedule looms after Friday night’s game with Terry. However, they can’t overlook the 5-3, 1-2 Bulldogs, especially with how the last couple of games in the series have gone.
“The last few times we’ve gone up there and played we haven’t played very well and they have,” Oak Grove Drew Causey said. “We kind of focus on that and we try to tell the guys what to expect when we’re playing up there. I just hope we’re locked in and ready to go.”
After Friday night, Brandon and Pearl, which are both unbeaten in region play, travel to Warrior Field for back-to-back games. If Oak Grove can get by Terry, a playoff berth will almost assuredly be locked up, especially with a game against Jim Hill left on the schedule. But those two games will go a long way to determine where the Warriors will fall in the playoff seeding.
Friday night is still the most important game on the schedule for Oak Grove, though. After all, last year’s loss to Terry had the biggest impact on Oak Grove not making the playoffs, so the players should be extra motivated to get revenge and take another step toward a playoff berth.
“This ballgame last year, it kept us out of making the playoffs. I really think it should (give the players motivation),” Causey said.
Terry likes to run the ball, and it averages 261 yards per game with five different players totaling more than 200 yards rushing. Out of those five players, Junior Marco Baker has the least amount of carries (20) but leads the team with 406 rushing yards and five touchdowns, averaging 20 yards per carry.
Senior Jayden Washington has a team-high 58 rushing attempts and he’s second on the squad with 356 yards and four touchdowns. Senior quarterback Jordin Hunter has only thrown the ball 36 times this season, averaging 14 yards per for his 19 completions and he has two touchdown passes with two interceptions. He’s also picked up 237 rushing yards and two scores on 51 rushing attempts.
The Terry offense has been scuffling lately, though. In the first three region games, it’s averaging 14 points per game, but it was held to six points in each of the losses to Brandon and Pearl. A 29-point performance against lowly Jim Hill has boosted that average.
Regardless of what the Terry offense looks like now, it could run a different offense against the Warriors this week, because that’s exactly what happened last season.
“Last year when we played them, they had been running a lot of different stuff, then they did something completely different against us,” Causey said. “They’re spreading it out, but they’re more of a run-oriented team.”
Defensively, the Bulldogs are giving up 24 points a game, and that number is helped by a shutout win over Jim Hill. Brandon scored 40 points and Pearl totaled 31. They also have shutout wins over Raymond and Port Gibson while holding Florence and Wingfield to single digits.
The defensive unit has combined for 33 tackles for a loss, 14 sacks, six interceptions and four fumble recoveries through the first eight games of the season.
“They have a lot of guys who are well coached and play hard,” Causey said. “One thing they’ve always done is they tackle well, so we have to do a good job of staying on our blocks, getting some movement and hitting the holes the way we’re supposed to do. Just execute.”