Flashes face next test with Pisgah

Published 9:40 am Wednesday, August 26, 2015

When the St. Aloysius Flashes reconvened for practice earlier this week, a couple of long film sessions were first and foremost on the agenda.

The subject wasn’t their Week 2 opponent Pisgah, however. It was the Flashes themselves.

After getting blown out 31-6 by Cathedral in last week’s opener, St. Al coach BJ Smithhart said it was important for his younger players to study what went wrong and to learn from their mistakes, rather than making drastic changes to the lineup.

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“They haven’t all played football, but they’ve played enough sports to know it ain’t always going to be your night,” Smithhart said. “We’re going to watch a lot of film this week on ourselves. We’re not going to do a lot of moving and changing people around.”

Not a lot did go right for the Flashes against Cathedral. They only had 74 yards of total offense and didn’t score until late in the fourth quarter. DeMichael Harris, a 2,000-yard rusher last season, had 28 yards on 15 carries.

The Flashes recovered a fumble on Cathedral’s first possession, only to go three-and-out and miss a field goal. They gave up a touchdown late in the first half to fall behind 17-0 and committed several ill-timed penalties to keep Cathedral drives alive.

“We know we’ve got to get better. There was just so much going on Friday night,” Smithhart said. “It’s one or two things that doom a play. When I watched the film, I knew I was going to feel better.”

Smithhart also took some solace in the fact that the Flashes lost to a quality team. Cathedral beat St. Al to win the MHSAA Class 1A championship last season and has nearly every starter back as it chases a Class AAA title in its first year as a member of the Mississippi Association of Independent Schools.

The schedule, though, doesn’t get any easier.

St. Al plays its home opener Friday night against Pisgah, which finished 7-7 last season and beat Mize 7-2 in its 2015 season opener. The Dragons have a legitimate Division I prospect with running back T.J. McGinnis. He rushed for 2,117 yards and 28 touchdowns in 2014 and averaged 8.7 yards per carry.

“He’s going to be a Division I football player. He’s a true athlete,” Smithhart said of McGinnis. “He’s a tall, rangy kid, can run and is physical. He’s listed in the top five players in the state to watch.”

On the plus side, the Flashes have two weeks to sort out their issues before the games count again. Because of its late move from the MHSAA to MAIS, St. Al has back-to-back games against MHSAA opponents that remained on the schedule. It’ll host Catholic school rival Madison-St. Joe next week.

Games against non-MAIS opponents don’t count toward the power point averages that determine playoff seeding, so for St. Al the next two games are essentially exhibitions that will allow them to prepare for the games that do matter.

“At this point in the year you want to play really good teams to make you better,” Smithhart said. “We feel both of these teams are as good as we’re going to see all year.”

Up Next

Pisgah at St. Aloysius

Friday, 7 p.m.

Radio: 104.5 FM

For live updates on Friday night, check out the Vicksburg Post’s Facebook page and Twitter at twitter.com/vicksburgpost

About Ernest Bowker

Ernest Bowker is The Vicksburg Post's sports editor. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post's sports staff since 1998, making him one of the longest-tenured reporters in the paper's 140-year history. The New Jersey native is a graduate of LSU. In his career, he has won more than 50 awards from the Mississippi Press Association and Associated Press for his coverage of local sports in Vicksburg.

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