The St. Mary’s football team received statewide attention this week as the Tigers climbed into the Louisiana Sports Writers Association’s top 10 Class A high school poll at No. 8.
Tonight at 7:30 in Turpin Stadium, they want to avoid statewide attention.
The Tigers (5-1, 1-0 in District 3-1A) play host to winless district foe Block High in a contest moved from Jonesville due to bad field conditions there.
St. Mary’s is undeniably a big favorite, but has its own set of challenges to overcome as some starters will be sidelined with injuries, said coach Aaron York.
“This will be a different kind of test for us. This will test our mettle to see how we can rally together and have backups step up into starting roles. We have three regulars out this week, and we’ll see how we can pull together and step up.
“They’re a better 0-6 team than the record indicates. They have some athletes. They have a dangerous quarterback, and a couple receivers who play basketball who can jump and make plays, who we have to keep in front of us.”
SMHS will be aiming for its sixth straight victory after opening district with a lopsided homecoming win over Northwood-Lena last Friday night.
The shifts in the Tigers’ lineup are hurdles for the home team to overcome against the Bears.
“Our biggest thing is how our secondary plays. We’ve got some new faces there and while their ability is not a concern, it’s just communication,” said York. “We have to align right, be sure we’re in the right spots, and offensively, we have to have some guys step up to move the football.”
There’s not a worry about the St. Mary’s players viewing this as a “trap game” against an inferior opponent. Instead, the lineup shifts should help avert that mindset.
“I don’t think there will be a mental letdown because we’ll have kids playing bigger roles than before, and they’ll be focused in. We just need them to do what we know they can do,” said York.
While SMHS already played last Friday without standout safety Mixon Bankston, and lost another key cog during the homecoming game, more personnel issues developed earlier this week, altering the Tigers’ game plan offensively.
“We already have a short week, and now we are adjusting our game plan to a significant degree, so it’s a test for our guys to come together and answer the challenge,” said York. “It’s just up to us to answer the bell. I believe we will.”
Tonight’s game was originally slated for Friday night in Jonesville, but was moved to Thursday and shifted to NSU’s Turpin Stadium by mutual agreement of the schools on Monday.
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