Flashes deal with tough assignment against Tri-County

Published 1:22 pm Thursday, September 7, 2023

St. Aloysius doesn’t have a choice but to accept its mission this week. To have any chance of accomplishing it, however, it has to remember that nothing is impossible.

Tri-County has made back-to-back appearances in the MAIS Class 4A championship game, is undefeated this season, and coming off two straight shutouts — and it’s next on the schedule for the Flashes. The teams play their District 2-4A opener Friday at 7 p.m. in Flora.

“Tri-County is the créme de la créme of private school football programs. They reload every year. They are what everybody wants to be,” St. Al coach Bubba Nettles said. “It is absolutely a tall task — but it does not mean that it cannot be completed.”

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On paper, the Flashes (0-3) and Rebels (3-0) are about as far apart on the football spectrum as two teams can get.
One is winless, one is undefeated. Tri-County has scored 47 points in each of its first three games, St. Al has scored 39 total. Tri-County has a 28-3 record over the past two-plus seasons and St. Al is 3-20.

They still need to play Friday’s game, however, and Nettles said the biggest key to success for his team is to not be intimidated.

“The biggest thing is not to get beat because of what the other helmet says,” Nettles said. “It’s like Alabama. A lot of times Alabama wins just because of the numbers on the side of their helmet. People go in thinking, ‘I’m not supposed to beat these people.’ Our kids, for the most part, fight very hard against that. But when you’re the best it’s hard for that thought process not to creep into your mind. I haven’t had to beat that out of anybody this week. I think they’re pumped up and excited about showing up and putting on a show.”

Although they lost 22-17, the Flashes outscored East Rankin 17-13 in the second half last week. Nettles said that, by necessity, the Flashes found an approach that worked and that he’ll try to replicate.

“We tried to simplify the game plan. and that might be the key for this Friday night. Try not to outcoach ourselves and ‘keep it simple, stupid.’ Let the kids play fast on both sides of the ball and see what happens,” Nettles said.

Nettles and his staff might also have found a way to get the most out of quarterback Carson Smith. The junior completed 10 of 16 passes for 212 yards and two touchdowns, to go along with 51 rushing yards.

Smith has thrown at least one touchdown pass in each of St. Al’s first three games.

“We have utilized him more rolling out of the pocket because he is a super athlete,” Nettles said. “We thought confining him in the pocket was hurting him a little bit, so we started building in rollouts and he completed a lot of his passes for chunk yardage on rollout passes.”

All games start at 7 p.m.
Germantown at Warren Central (Radio: 105.5 FM)
St. Aloysius at Tri-County (Radio: 101.3 FM)
Porter’s Chapel at Humphreys Academy (Radio: 104.5 FM)
Vicksburg at Natchez (Radio: 107.7 FM)
Union Christian at Tallulah Academy
Sharkey-Issaquena Academy at Kemper Academy
Bowling Green at Central Hinds
Port Gibson at Wilkinson County
Madison Parish at Northeast

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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