St. Aloysius minus Strickland for opener

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 31, 2001

[08/31/01]While Vicksburg and Warren Central are busy entertaining powerhouses in the Red Carpet Bowl Friday night, St. Aloysius will quietly open its season across town with a good old-fashioned rivalry game against Catholic school foe Greenville-St. Joseph.

“It’s not a problem getting the kids ready to play one of the other Catholic schools,” St. Al coach Jim Taylor said. “It’s been a rivalry for a lot of years, and you don’t have to do too much but schedule them.”

The Flashes won’t have any problem getting motivated after suffering a 16-12 loss at Greenville in last year’s opener a game they led 12-0 after one quarter but they do have a few other problems to deal with.

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Starting tailback Michael Strickland, who rushed for 551 yards and seven scores last season, will miss the opener with a groin pull.

“He very likely won’t play,” Taylor said.

“A groin pull just takes time, that’s all you can do.”

One of those will be Michael Head, who will fill in for Strickland as the starting tailback.

Guy Smith will also see some carries.

“Michael Head ought to be able to pick it up. And we have a better line that last year,” said Dan Muirhead, who will start at quarterback for the Flashes.

Although the teams are familiar with each other, both head coaches said scouting the other team has been difficult because of new personnel and schemes.

Muirhead and St. Joe’s Todd McGee are both first-year starters at quarterback, and both teams return only about half of last year’s starters.

“All I can do is look at what they had last year,” said St. Joe coach Butch Inmon, whose team was 7-4 last season.

“… (W)e have a lot of skill people back.”

Taylor said he knew little about the Irish because of their constantly shifting schemes.

“They’ve changed offenses and defenses every year the last two or three years,” Taylor said. “They sent a roster down here that does not have a tight end listed, so we’re figuring they’re going to run something with two wide receivers or a wishbone.”

St. Al players want revenge.

“We’ve got some pay back we’ve got to give them,” defensive end Hildon Sessums said.