St. Aloysius, at 0-5, begins its playoff push

Published 1:24 pm Thursday, September 21, 2023

At the halfway point of the season, St. Aloysius has an 0-5 record. It has not scored more than 17 points in any game, and been outscored 84-6 in its last two.

Naturally, it’s time for the Flashes to begin their playoff push.

Despite its struggles so far, St. Al is ranked 12th in the MAIS Class 4A power point rankings. That means it would be the final team in the bracket if the season ended today, and with five games remaining it also means there’s plenty of time left to move up.

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“If you pick up a couple of wins here and there over the next five ballgames, if not all five, and it’s a brand new season at the end of October,” St. Al coach Bubba Nettles said. “I would think two or three would let us be a host, which would be huge.”

St. Al’s playoff possibilities are rooted in the power points formula that determines wild card berths and playoff seeding. There is a strength of schedule component that rewards teams who play difficult schedules, and few in Class 4A have had a tougher one than St. Al.

Its three non-region opponents so far are Class 5A teams. Three of its five opponents have winning records and two — Adams County Christian and Tri-County — are regarded as state championship contenders.

All of those teams should pile up victories as the season goes along, which plays into the strength of schedule component and will give St. Al a bigger-picture win despite its Friday night losses.

This week’s opponent, Central Hinds (3-2, 0-0 MAIS District 2-4A), also has a winning record although Nettles feels it’s a better match-up than the Flashes have seen recently.

St. Al and Central Hinds play Friday at 7 p.m. in Raymond.

“All the teams we’ve played over the last five weeks are well-coached football teams and bigger schools. This week, I think, is the first time in a while where the playing field will be somewhat level, if that makes sense. And I think these kids are super hungry for that to happen,” Nettles said.

Nettles also thinks the opportunity is there for it to happen. There are no Class 5A teams in the back half of the schedule, and two of the next three after Central Hinds are Class 3A schools with losing records.

Pulling out of an 0-5 hole won’t be easy, but Nettles said it’s not as daunting a challenge as what the Flashes have faced so far.

“These next five games on our schedule, I feel like we can go get them. The kids (Sunday) and again (Monday) morning understand, too, and they’re ready to roll,” Nettles said. “I told them, ‘It’s in y’all’s hands. I’m going to coach you as hard as I can and you’ll have to respond and let the chips fall where they may at the end.”

Just getting a win, Nettles added, would also be a welcome relief. St. Al has lost 14 consecutive games since beating Park Place in the 2022 season opener. Piling up a couple more and getting into the playoffs would be even better.

“It would mean everything. I could get some sleep at night,” he said with a laugh. “These kids could enjoy the winning side of things. It would mean the absolute world to this program to string along a win streak here at the end of the year.”

All games start at 7 p.m.
Yazoo City at Vicksburg High (Radio: 107.7 FM)
Warren Central at Madison Central (Radio: 105.5 FM)
Tensas Academy at Porter’s Chapel (Radio: 104.5 FM)
St. Aloysius at Central Hinds (Radio: 101.3 FM)
Crystal Springs at Port Gibson
Tallulah Academy at Prairie View Academy
Briarfield at Sharkey-Issaquena Academy
Ferriday at Madison Parish

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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