Flashes to tangle with top-ranked Bobcats

Published 11:15 am Thursday, October 25, 2012

Before the 2012 season goes in the books, the St. Aloysius Flashes have one challenge remaining.

It’s a big one.

The Flashes (2-7, 2-6 Region 4-1A) head south Friday to take on undefeated Bogue Chitto (9-0, 7-0), the top-ranked team in this week’s Associated Press Class 1A poll. The Bobcats have several college prospects, a high-powered offense that averages 31 points per game and a defense that gives up less than nine.

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In other words, it’s exactly the kind of late-season game that can give St. Al’s players and coaches an idea of how they stack up against the best.

“We’re looking forward to playing the No. 1 team in the state. Why not play them?” St. Al coach B.J. Smithhart said with a smile.

Bogue Chitto is led by the passing connection of Brock Roberts to Germie Martin. Roberts has thrown for 1,116 yards and 19 touchdowns this season. Martin has 815 receiving yards and 14 TDs.

Running back Brandon Wells has committed to Mississippi State and leads the team with 966 rushing yards and seven touchdowns.

“They’re very deserving of their ranking,” Smithhart said. “They’ve got some of the best skill people in our classification, and they’ve got some strength to go with it. They’re very well-rounded.”

As the season winds down, Smithhart has begun tinkering with his own team. Last week against Hinds AHS, he used sophomore Will Pierce at quarterback and Connor Smith at receiver.

Pierce had previously played receiver, and Smith has started every game at quarterback.

With only four seniors on the roster, Smithhart said the last few games provide an opportunity to move some people around and see where they might fit best next season.

“You want to look and make sure you give everybody some game action. We’re going to do things like that and see what makes us a better football team,” he said.

Regardless of their final record, the Flashes have shown marked improvement since the beginning of the season.

They lost their first three games by a combined score of 119-24. In the six games since, they’ve only give up more than 21 points once, won two games and stayed close with playoff contenders Dexter, Cathedral and Hinds AHS.

Smithhart credited his seniors for the turnaround, and not letting the bad start turn into a downward spiral.

“Our seniors have done a great job playing the whole way through,” Smithhart said. “They play hard every Friday and have done a good job passing it on to the younger guys. They haven’t mailed it in.”