Flashes still struggling for traction during difficult season

Published 9:31 am Monday, September 28, 2015

This has been a rough season for the St. Aloysius football team in every aspect imaginable.

It started in July when the school left the Mississippi High School Activities Association to join the Mississippi Association of Independent Schools.

Then, injuries started to plague the roster. In the second game of the season, against Pisgah, DeMichael Harris — who rushed for a school-record 2,102 yards last year — rolled his ankle while making a tackle on the opening drive and has been sidelined for five weeks.

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Offensive linemen Ben Brown, Rett Verhine, Garrett Briethaupt and defensive back Deontae Carson have also been sidelined.

Next comes the overall 1-5 record the team faces. Its lone win came against district opponent Hartfield Academy, 41-21, and kept the window open for a possible playoff berth.

Frustration returned, however, during Friday’s 42-0 homecoming loss to non-district foe Adams County Christian. The Flashes committed six turnovers and had three returned for touchdowns.

“I think the kids played hard and everybody’s frustrated,” St. Al coach BJ Smithhart said. “We just can’t have that many turnovers, especially against a great football team like that. We gave a good football team a short field multiple times and they make you pay for it. That’s what good teams do.”

A combination of defensive pressure and not securing the football played a factor in the turnovers committed by the Flashes.

“You got to give them credit. They forced turnovers as much as we turned it over,” Smithhart said.

ACCS was a lot bigger and deeper than the Flashes, and used it to its advantage. Smithhart said they could spread a team out with their athletes and were big enough to put pressure on the linemen. He’s proud of his team for sticking it out and playing through tough stretches.

The Flashes have one more non-district game — this Friday at Greenville-St. Joseph — before heading into a three game stretch against District 3-AAA opponents Manchester, Central Hinds and Riverfield. St. Al can still win the district and secure a playoff berth by winning all three league games.

Smithhart hopes to have all of his players healthy to finish out the season strong.

“We’re still leading the district. We’re hoping to have all our guys back,” Smithhart said. “They’re not season-ending type things. They’re one to two week type issues and when we get them back we’ll feel like we’ll be a deeper, better football team.”

Up Next

St. Aloysius at Greenville-St. Joseph

Friday, 7 p.m.

Radio: 101.3 FM

Online: For live scoring updates on Friday night, visit Facebook.com/the vicksburgpost and Twitter.com/vicksburgpost