St. Al looking to get on track this week

Published 10:00 pm Wednesday, September 5, 2018

St. Aloysius coach Michael Fields feels like the Flashes are finally coming to the end of a long and difficult tunnel at the start of the season.

Unfortunately, there’s still one more bit to navigate.

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The Flashes (0-3) will try again for their first win of the season when they host Washington School (1-2) Friday at 7 p.m. The Class AAAA Generals have beaten St. Al all three times they’ve played since 2015 and are coming off a 36-0 drubbing of East Rankin Academy last week.

St. Al, meanwhile, has two key District 3-AAA games coming up in the next two weeks. Getting past this one, and having some success in it, will be an important step toward making a late-season push for the MAIS Class AAA playoffs, Fields said.

“You get to test everything about yourself. You have to fight adversity and pull yourself together,” Fields said. “If we can get past this one, I think we’ll be OK, because the schedule does get a little bit easier.”

Although they lost their district opener to Central Hinds last week, Fields did see some encouraging signs that his team might be trending in the right direction. They totaled 214 yards and scored three touchdowns in a 42-21 loss, both totals that surpassed their output from the first two games combined.

Backup quarterback Alvin Brown ran for 157 yards and two touchdowns in his second game filling in for the injured Phillip Upshaw. Upshaw will miss this Friday’s game as well, but is expected back for next week’s crosstown rivalry game against Porter’s Chapel Academy.

“We’re still learning each other. When you have a young team, it’s good to find that one piece and say, ‘What’s your role?’” Fields said. “Now we have to get Phillip Upshaw healthy and we’ll be ready for the most important part of the schedule.”

Brown is only 5-for-13 passing, for 38 yards and one touchdown in his two games at quarterback. He’s also thrown four interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown by Central Hinds.

Fields, however, said Brown’s running ability can eventually open up some of the passing game.

“This time of year the offense is always behind the defense, and the throwing game is behind the running game. If we can run the ball, people are going to have to respect it and come up to defend it, and that’ll help make us better throwing it,” Fields said.

The ever-positive Fields said he also saw some positive steps on defense. Central Hinds ran for 332 yards and running back Prentice Brown scored four touchdowns as Central Hinds jumped out to a 28-7 halftime lead.

St. Al played the Cougars to a 14-14 tie in the second half, however, after being outscored 96-14 in their first 10 quarters of action this season.

“What I look at is competition. Central Hinds was big and had depth, and we knew they were going to be physical. Once we calmed down and got over the mistakes we made early, we did OK,” Fields said.

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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