For the first time in his career, Sumrall coach Shannon White will be facing off against Pearl River Central.
Despite it being the first time White will coach against Pearl River Central, he is familiar with PRC coach Jacob Owen and his offense. Owen was previously the offensive coordinator at Poplarville and coached the Hornets' signature Wing-T offense.
“They are a hard-nosed team,” White said. “I have never played them and have never been in Carriere, so it’s all-new for me. Coach Jacob Owen down there has it going in the right direction. The first thing that stands out is how hard they play on both sides of the ball. They do a great job with the Wing-T offense. It’s a tough offense and hard to get off the field. It’s a challenge for our defense for sure.”
Last season, Pearl River Central finished 3-8 but returns a good bit of talent from last season.
Quarterback Cameron Brunson returns after passing for 297 yards and three touchdowns, and so does fullback Ty Herring. According to White, Herring is the backbone of PRC’s offense. Herring rushed for 1,081 yards and eight touchdowns.
“We don’t know much about their skill set guys,” White said. “All I can tell is that they get after you, and they know what they are doing with the Wing-T. They looked sharp.
“The fullback is a tough running kid and fights for extra yards. He’s a tough kid, and they give it to him a lot. They give it to the fullback a lot, and he’ll get 20 or so carries on Friday night.”
On the defensive side of the ball, White believes Pearl River Central changed their defense from a 5-2 defense to a 3-3 scheme for this season. The Blue Devils return two of their top three tacklers, inside linebacker Branson Logan, who totaled a team-leading 105 tackles, and outside linebacker Brady Johnson, who recorded 90 tackles.
“Defensively, we don’t know a lot about them,” White said. “They didn’t show a lot last week, and they changed defenses from last year. It’s just a hard thing to judge. I know they’ll play hard, but we’re not sure what they’d run on defense. They were a 5-man front. This year it looks like a 3-3 scheme. That’s how they lined up (last week against Bay High) and didn’t show much of what they do. That style of defense is blitz heavy, and we’ll get ready for that.”
For White, the game against Pearl River Central is good preparation against the Wing-T since Sumrall usually sees it several times in a season, most notably against Poplarville.
“Usually somebody runs it in our district, and we usually see it about four times a year,” White said. “It’s not something we’re unfamiliar with, that’s for sure. Plus, if you are going to make it to the state championship, you have to beat Poplarville at least one time.”