Tallulah, Franklin ready for rematch

Published 9:00 am Thursday, November 5, 2015

Beating Franklin Academy was so much fun, Tallulah Academy would like to do it again.

Tallulah and Franklin will meet for the second straight week Friday night in Tallulah, this time in a first-round MAIS eight-man playoff game. Tallulah won 50-14 last week to clinch the District 4-A championship and the right to host this week’s game.

Tallulah coach Bo Barton said playing the same team twice in a row is a unique — and unpredictable — challenge because of the familiarity between opponents.

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“I’ve done that twice in 20 years of coaching. Won once in the regular season and lost in the playoffs, and then lost in the regular season and won in the playoffs. It’s tough, but in both times I’ve done it it was four good games. Any time you’re dealing with 14- to 19-year-old kids and trying to keep them focused it can be tricky,” Barton said. “I’d rather be playing a lot of other teams than Franklin Parish because you feel like it’s the same practice you just went through.”

If the result turns out the same, though, Barton certainly wouldn’t mind.

Tallulah (9-1) rolled up 412 rushing yards and forced five turnovers as it outscored Franklin 28-0 in the second half. It was the fourth consecutive game in which Tallulah has had at least 390 rushing yards and the sixth time it’s scored at least 50 points.

Barton wasn’t reading too much into the blowout. He noted that it was an eight-point game at halftime, and didn’t expect Franklin (7-4) to be as turnover-prone the second time around.

Barton was optimistic, however, that homefield advantage will give an added boost to a team that is already rolling. This will be Tallulah Academy’s first home playoff game since 2003. It won twice on the road last year en route to an appearance in the eight-man championship game.

“I think we’re pretty fired up,” Barton said. “We have a really good fan base here. These people enjoy their football, and that helps these kids. It’s exciting to play here.”

SIA at Kemper

It’s been a while since Sharkey-Issaquena Academy (8-3) has been in this position.

The Confederates will face undefeated Kemper Academy (10-0) in a first-round eight-man playoff game. It’s the first time SIA — which went undefeated twice while winning the last two eight-man titles — has gone on the road in the postseason since 2012.

It’s also the first time in a while SIA has been a bit of an underdog. It earned the No. 5 seed in the eight-team bracket with a strong power point rating, but has looked more vulnerable this year than at any point in its reign as the kings of eight-man football.

Still, SIA is riding a three-game winning streak into the playoffs and won’t be an easy out for any opponent. Kemper has won 22 of its last 25 games dating back to late in the 2013 season. All three losses have come against SIA.

Madsion at Carroll

Madison Parish (6-3) lost its second consecutive game last week, 53-13 to Union Parish, but still managed to creep back into the Louisiana High School Athletic Association Class 3A playoff picture.

The LHSAA uses a power point system to rank and seed its 32-team playoff bracket in each classification, with strength of schedule as a major component. Madison was ranked No. 41 last week because of an easy schedule to that point, but playing 10th-ranked Union Parish allowed the Jaguars to improve their strength factor and move up to No. 33 this week.

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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