Home-field advantage atstake in HCC-SW showdown

Published 12:00 am Thursday, November 2, 2000

Because of an emotional night against Pearl River, No. 12 Southwest Community College came within two points of entering Thursday night’s showdown with seventh-ranked Hinds with a perfect division record.

Less than a week after the death of popular Pearl River coach Keith Daniels, the underdog Wildcats booted a last-second field goal to hand Southwest (8-1, 4-1 South Division) its only loss.

Hinds, on the other hand, fell to probation-stricken Northwest 42-10 in a meaningless game earlier in the year, but have yet to shine since the loss.

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“I really think Northwest burst our bubble a little bit,” Hinds’ defensive coordinator Jeff Terrill said. “I think some of our weaknesses were revealed, but the last few weeks we’ve gotten better.”

Last week, the Eagles (8-1, 5-0) escaped with a win against an inspired Jones team, 19-13. Since the Northwest loss, Hinds has limped past East Central, 14-7, and beaten division doormat Co-Lin, 29-7.

Eagles’ defensive coordinator Jeff Terrill said his team must play its best game of the year against the Bears, who are statistically even with Hinds in every category.

“This will be the most multiple offense we’ve seen all year,” said Terrill, who added that the Bears will run everything from a wing-T to a five-wide receiver set. “We don’t expect them to attack us in all those ways, but they have very good athletes and are capable of causing problems.”

The Bears are led by quarterback Andreco Hines, a sophomore from Riverdale, Ga., who has thrown for 1,122 yards and nine touchdowns. Alonzo Ard averages nearly 76 yards on the ground per game and has scored eight touchdowns.

Hinds rides the arm of Central Florida signee Brad Banks, who has thrown for nearly 1,900 yards and 15 touchdowns.

“They have some excellent wideouts in Chauncey Stovall and that number 5 (Oklahoma State transfer John Lewis),” Edenfield said.

Southwest ranks first in total defense and third in total offense, while the Eagles are second in defense and fourth in offense.

“They have some very skilled players on both sides of the ball,” Southwest coach Kenny Edenfield said. “On defense, they are bigger than we are, but everyone has been.”

The Eagles won a crucial game at Southwest last season, knocking the Bears from the playoffs and eventually sending themselves to the state championship game.

Edenfield, who has coached Southwest for three years, said the program is slowly building to the point that Hinds is at. The Bears have not been to the playoffs since they won the state championship in 1958.

The Bears are guaranteed to make the postseason this year, but a trip to Itawamba, in the northeast corner of the state, is in store for tonight’s loser.

“We definitely want to be home,” Edenfield said. “Last year, the state championship at Northwest was scheduled for Saturday afternoon at 1 o’clock, Hinds had to leave at five in the morning.”

The South champion, with a first-round playoff win, will host the state championship game.

“We just need to keep improving on what we’ve been doing,” Terrill said. “It’s the kind of game where whoever eliminates the critical errors will win.”