North Webster is used to having home playoff games.
“Last year was the first time in a while that we didn’t have a first round playoff game at home,” North Webster head coach John Ware said.
Last week’s convincing win over Albany in Springhill showed why the Knights are a threat to beat anyone in the state.
Tonight, they will take on #9 St. James, a team with a similar resume to North Webster.
“Playing at home is certainly an advantage,” Ware said. “They will have to drive for five hours and hop off the bus and go play.”
That doesn’t mean that Ware thinks the game will be a walk in the park.
“It’s the second round of the playoffs, it’s supposed to be hard.”
Ware is most likely concerned with St. James quarterback Shamar Smith.
“St. James is a little more spread out on offense than Albany [was],” Ware said. “They have a quarterback who can go, and he likes to run around a good bit.”
After stalling on offense for much of the first half in St. James’ first round game against Donaldsonville, Smith turned on his motor and took the scoreless game into his own hands.
After a 10-yard rushing touchdown, Smith followed with a 60-yard run for a touchdown and let his defense do the rest.
The Wildcats held on for a 25-0 victory to advance to the second round to play North Webster.
“They are very, very good on defense,” Ware said. “It will be a challenge for us this week.”
The Knights have struggled against high-powered offenses this season, but usually against standard, pocket-passing quarterbacks.
Against the run, the Knights have been fantastic.
Led by Sam Plants, Jr. and L.T. Grigsby, the North Webster defensive line is one of the best in the state.
Where the Knights have struggled is in the secondary, and that’s mostly down to injuries.
To combat their thin defensive backfield, the Knights know they will need to put some points on the board.
Quarterback Tyrell Markray will need to have the game of his career.
Luckily, Markray has outstanding options to give the ball to with Scottie Johnson, Eddie Rollen, and workhorse running back Lorenzo Johnson.
Markray didn’t have to do much against Albany. He was only in the game for about two quarters.
He’s had big games this season, but a lot of his value comes as a leader and a game manager.
Rollen is who I always look to as someone who can break out for an explosive play.
Scottie Johnson also loves scoring touchdowns.
Regardless, if you’re in the area, this is a game not to be missed. Springhill will be electric.
If the Knights win, they will most likely take on #1 Iota in the third round.
First, they just need to take care of business at home.