Game of the Week: Taylorsville at Lumberton
LUMBERTON, Miss. (WDAM) -It’s rare that two defending state champions meet the following season in a crucial region clash, but that’s the case when Taylorsville visits Lumberton.
“I feel like this is our district. If you want it you have to come through us,” Lumberton quarterback and wide receiver Rodney Parker said.
“Ths be something to watch,” Taylorsville wide receiver and linebacker Kelby Jordan said.
“Be ready for a dog fight,” Lumberton head coach Jonathan Ladner said.
The two reigning state champions face off on Friday as the Tartars travel to take on the Panthers.
“It’s a big game for our kids,” Taylorsville head coach Jay Blackledge said. “They respect the heck out of Lumberton knowing what they’ve done last year and won a state championship. We’re kind of wearing a chip on our shoulder, like we want to play in these big games.”
“I’m expecting a playoff-type atmosphere, very rowdy,” Ladner said. “I know Coach [Blackledge] is going to have his bunch ready to go. I’m expecting a close ballgame and that’s what we’ve told the kids all week.”
Winning state titles isn’t the only thing these two programs have in common, both schools are led by first-year head coaches.
“I think we’ve handled it pretty well here,” Blackledge said. “Winning has always been here, so that wasn’t broken.”
“You know, being in a small community that really loves football, that’s an awesome place to be at. I want to be at places that love football and this place loves football and so does Taylorsville. That’s the reason both programs have been able to sustain winning for so long,” the Lumberton head coach said.
A matchup to watch all night will be Taylorsville’s offense against the Panther defense. Lumberton’s defense has only allowed an average of 15 points a game through their first six games
“Playing our best ball on that side right now,” Ladner said.
“Defense here is probably the main goal. Defense wins games. Defense wins championships and we proved that last year,” Parker, the Lumberton QB/DB, said.
“That’s a challenge for us because their team’s speed. They can really get out and run at all positions,” Blackledge said. “It’s going to take probably some bumps in the road Friday night getting used to their team speed and hopefully we can settle in and get on time and get on rhythm on offense.”
That high-power Tartar offense has been in a rhythm lately, scoring 40 plus points in two of their three district games. They aren’t letting that lockdown defense affect them.
“Change nothing, just keep us, do us and I think the results will take care of themselves,” Jordan, the Taylorsville WR/LB said.
Kickoff is at 7 p.m. in Lumberton.
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