Injury list grows for Flashes as season wears on

Published 9:28 am Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Earlier this week, St. Aloysius coach BJ Smithhart stood alongside the fence at Balzli Field and started ticking off the names on his injured list.

If, six weeks earlier, he’d done the same with his starting lineup it’s a safe bet the two lists would look remarkably similar.

Eight starters have missed at least one game so far because of injury, including star running back DeMichael Harris, quarterback Will Pierce and left tackle Ben Brown. It’s been one of the driving forces behind St. Al’s dreadful 1-5 record as it heads to Greenville-St. Joseph Friday night for its last non-district game of the season.

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“We’ll get somebody back that’s been gone for a couple of games, and then we’ll lose the guy that’s been playing for him. It’s nothing that’s season-ending. It’s two-week things,” Smithhart said. “The thing about it is, if we can get through all that it’s going to make us a better football team because everybody will have had to play. I know nobody likes where we’re at. I would hope not. But I think they’ll see a marked improvement once we get everybody back because of everybody having to step up and play such big roles. They’ll contribute to, hopefully, a good run in the last three games of district.”

Before the Flashes get to those three District 3-AAA games — a run that includes Manchester, Central Hinds and Riverfield beginning next week and will determine their postseason fate — they have one more tough non-district game to get through.

Greenville-St. Joe is averaging 311.8 rushing yards per game. The Irish (5-1), though, are multi-faceted on offense. Sophomore quarterback Brice Johnson has already completed 67 of 100 passes for 1,013 yards and 16 touchdowns, with only three interceptions. He also has 478 rushing yards, which is second on the team.

Senior running back Terrence Thomas has 953 yards and nine TDs on the ground. He had 246 yards last week in a 44-0 win over Lee Academy.

“They do a lot like ACCS,” Smithhart said, referring to the team that beat St. Al 42-0 last week. “They’re big up front, but they’ve got a lot of speed. So they can go with power sets where there are three backs in the backfield or they can go five-wide and have an athletic quarterback. They put you in some different binds. They can run it, they can throw it, they do it all well.”

St. Joe seems to have the upper hand coming into this meeting between the longtime Catholic school rivals, but St. Al has has won four of the last six matchups. Smithhart said the rivalry adds a little something to the game, but the main focus is coming through a game healthy — for once — and turning in a good performance.

“This is one of our rivals, and you always want to play them tough,” Smithhart said. “They’re a good football team. They’ve been cruising along, put up a lot of points and don’t give up many. They’re probably a confident bunch. We want to go in and play our best football game of the year and see what happens.”

St. Aloysius at Greenville-St. Joe

Friday, 7 p.m.

Radio: 101.3 FM

Online: For live scoring updates on Friday night, visit or

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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