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Mighty Mize brings 16-game winning streak to St. Al

[10/11/01]David slew Goliath, Hickory won the Indiana state basketball championship in the movie “Hoosiers” and the United States beat the Soviet Union in hockey in the 1980 Winter Olympics.

St. Aloysius coach Jim Taylor should remind his Flashes of all these and any more monumental upsets because as they prepare for mighty Mize.

The Smith County town of less than 350 people boasts one of the finest Class 1A programs over the past 15 years.

“We’ve been blessed,” said fifth-year Bulldogs coach Kenny Robinson, whose team enters the game 6-0, ranked No. 1 in The Associated Press Little 10 poll and riding a 16-game winning streak. “We’ve been blessed with great athletes, a great coaching staff and great fan support.”

Mize fans have had plenty to cheer about. The Bulldogs won state championships in 1988, 1995 and last season, beating Durant 14-13 in overtime. The Bulldogs beat St. Al in ithe 1997 state playoffs, the last time the two teams met.

“(Mize) wasn’t a secret when we came into this division, they’re only the top 1A team in the state,” Taylor said.

” … I’d say they are good enough to win the state championship again and it would be very special for us to defeat them.”

So far this year, the Bulldogs have passed every test, including a 35-21 win over previously unbeaten Dexter, picked by many to win the Region 4-1A crown.

“That was a big win,” said Robinson, who has been coaching in different capacities at the school for 21 years. “Dexter came in undefeated, but we played well overall.”

Asked if he worries about a letdown, Robinson said his team must realize that St. Aloysius’ 7-0 loss to downtrodden Salem was not an indication of the Flashes’ season.

“I’m sure they’ll bounce back,” Robinson said. “They didn’t play as well as they can and we expect them to be much better this week.”

Taylor was livid with the Flashes (4-2, 2-2) after being shut out on Friday night. With two losses, the Flashes are in fifth place in the region, but still have games against Dexter (4-1, 3-1) and Enterprise (5-1, 4-0).

“We still have a good shot (at the playoffs), but we have to win the ones were supposed to,” Taylor said. “We’re still positive about the situation.”

To make the task Friday night even tougher for the home-standing Flashes, running back Curtis Keyes, who has been nursing a nagging thigh injury, is expected to be at full strength.

Keyes is being courted by Southern Mississippi, Mississippi State and Stanford, Robinson said. Keyes returned an interception for a score against Dexter.

Running back Jason Ducksworth, the nephew of Southern Miss starting linebacker Derrick Ducksworth, ran for a game-high 139 yards on 23 carries.

“Their skill players are confident and competent,” Taylor said. “They don’t do anything special, but do a good job on offense and defense.”

Joey Sullivan and junior quarterback Jay Johnson, who has played since his freshman year, lead the high-octane offense.

“We run the ball a lot, but we will pass,” Robinson said. “It depends a lot on what the defense gives us.”