• 72°

St. Aloysius travels to face Parklane Academy for big challenge

This week doesn’t mark the start of the most difficult part of St. Aloysius’ schedule. That is still a couple of weeks down the road. It is, however, a harbinger of things to come.

The Flashes (2-1) go on the road to McComb on Friday night to take on MAIS Class 6A foe Parklane Academy (2-1). It’s a step up not just in class, but in quality of opponent, and a major challenge St. Al will need to overcome before a key three-game stretch of district games begins in two weeks.

“They’re going to be good. They’re a bigger school with more depth, they’re big and they’re patient, and they have a tradition,” St. Al coach Michael Fields said. “We have to be patient and fundamentally sound in everything we do. We have to be physical in everything we do, and have no turnovers to give ourselves a chance.”

St. Al has done well with that game plan the past two weeks. It has rushed for 578 yards in wins over Greenville Christian and Central Hinds to achieve its first winning record at this point in the season since 2014. Just as importantly, the Flashes have only committed three turnovers in the past two games after giving it away four times in a season-opening loss to Hartfield Academy.

Running back Alvin Brown and quarterback Phillip Upshaw have combined for 598 of the Flashes’ 643 rushing yards this season, as well as four touchdowns. St. Al, as a team, is only 5-for-16 passing for 54 yards.

“I think the running backs are having more confidence in the linemen, and the linemen are having confidence in the running backs. They have more faith that the running backs are going to hit the holes they’re opening,” Fields said. “It’s like a puzzle, and the pieces are starting to come together.”

With the improved play has come a renewed sense of confidence. St. Al had gone four years without winning a game in August, and then ended that streak by knocking off Greenville Christian. The victory over Central Hinds created a winning streak. Now they’ll try to add to it while simultaneously not getting too far ahead of themselves.

“We keep them pretty level-headed, and we’re going to take it one game at a time. We know we’ve got work to do if we want to be a champion,” Fields said. “They trust the process more and in you when they see the benefits of the work they’ve been putting in. This is going to be a bigger test this week.”

FRIDAY’S AREA GAMES
All games start at 7 p.m.

St. Aloysius at Parklane (Radio: 101.3 FM)
Porter’s Chapel at CHEF (Radio: 104.5 FM)
Warren Central at Brandon (Radio: 105.5 FM)
Benton (La.) at Vicksburg (Radio: 107.7 FM)
Crystal Springs at Port Gibson
Northwest Rankin at Clinton
Claiborne Academy at Tallulah Academy
Briarfield Academy at Franklin Academy
Prairie View at Rebul Academy
Sharkey-Issaquena Academy at Riverdale
Copiah Academy at Central Hinds

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 sports reporters in the paper's 137-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.

email author More by Ernest