• 59°

Tigers to face ‘best RB in state’ Friday

The Greenville Tigers are hoping for a bit of déjà vu this Friday as the team travels to face a familiar foe.

The Beauregard Hornets were the Tigers’ firsts victims of the 2017 season in a 34-31 upset.  But the Hornets have not tasted anything resembling defeat since. 

Beauregard won each of its following games by at least 26 points, all led by Mississippi State recruit and reigning Mr. Football La’Damian Webb.

Webb, the 5-foot-8 tandem of power and speed, is a threat that Greenville head football coach Josh McLendon said is impossible to neutralize completely.  Instead, he said it’s more about containing his ability.

“When anybody is that good, they’re going to get theirs,” McLendon said. “I think you try to limit some of their explosive plays as far as the long runs are concerned. 

“I think you have to do a good job of getting everybody to the football, wrapping him up and doing a really good job of tackling, because I don’t think any one person is going to bring him down.  He’s not only a good running back, but he blocks well on the perimeter.  He’s just overall the best running back in the state.  That’s why he was Mr. Football as a junior—that doesn’t happen very often, and I’m not sure it’s ever happened before.”

None of that is to say that the Hornets are only as good as their star player, no matter how brightly that player might shine.  McLendon added that a running back alone isn’t enough to explain how the Hornets have been so dominant this season.

“Their quarterback is also very, very good,” McLendon added. “He’s the straw that stirs the drink.  He really keeps everybody going, and he does a great job of managing the game and not turning the ball over.

“It’s going to be tough.  It’s tough to beat anybody twice, let alone in the playoffs.  We understand that they’re going to be fired up and we’re the only team that beat them this year, but we’ve got to go up there and play our game and not worry about what’s happened in the past.  Right now, everybody has a clean slate, and it’s just another opportunity to prove ourselves.  And we’re excited about the opportunity, and we’re going to give it everything we’ve got.”

The early-round rematch with Beauregard is reminiscent of the Tigers’ showdown with St. Pauls from 2015, though McLendon was quick to dispel the notion that a win Friday would mean anything more than advancement to round two.

“It’d be a huge win, but it’s one game and we have to treat it as one game,” he said.

“We can’t think that just because we’ve beaten them that we’re going to walk in there and beat them again.  It just doesn’t work that way.  Our mindset has to be that we have a tall task in front of us, and we’ve got to be good at what we’re doing.”

The Tigers travel to Beauregard once again Friday.  Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.