Memories of the double overtime loss at Pontotoc in 2008 are still on the minds of the Bulldogs as they open division play against the Warriors on Friday.
New Albany fell short in that game and suffered a 31-14 setback in 2009. Entering their district schedule this season at 6-0, New Albany hopes to snap the Warriors’ three game win streak in the series, with NA last winning in overtime in 2006.
“It’s a big game for this program, probably the biggest this team and school have had in a long time,” NAHS head coach Ron Price said. “Pontotoc has a great team, they’re very good and fast. They have great coaches who will have them ready to play.”
Pontotoc enters the game at 4-2 after falling at Amory last week. The focus will be on the New Albany defense, who have posted three shutouts so far this season, and Price hopes his team can continue their dominance in that area.
“They have a new quarterback this year, and they’re just a little bit away from clicking on all cylinders,” he said. “Hopefully our defense will slow that down a little more. We’ve struggled against them the last two years; played well at times, but just couldn’t come out with a win. I’m hoping our kids will remain focused, as we’ve had a great week of practice.”
New Albany is currently the only unbeaten team in Division 1-4A, and the Bulldogs want to start division play on a good note.
“I’ve not been in this position, the kids have not been in this position, but they understand what’s riding on this game,” Price said.
“One of our goals for this season is to be division champions, and in order to do that, you’ve got to be 1-0 after Friday night. They are led by a great group of seniors who remember what it was like to be 3-7. Our kids are motivated and are hungry, and hopefully we’ll know how to handle that pressure this week.”
Kickoff for the divisional match-up is set for 7 p.m. at Pontotoc