New Albany head coach Ron Price has emphasized to his team just how important it is that they are able to host a playoff game for the third year in a row.
Hosting Indianola Gentry in Friday’s first round, the Bulldogs look to extend its five-game win streak that includes the team’s second division title in three years.
“This is the third year in a row that we’ve had the chance to host a playoff game, and we told our kids how special that is,” Price said. “I played high school football for four years and never got to play in a playoff game, so for our seniors to get to play at home for the third consecutive year and to be able to call themselves division champions for a second time, I hope this group of kids realizes how special this run is that we’ve been on and how fortunate we are to get to play a playoff game at home. Hopefully our community will come out and show support and how proud they are of this team and be a part of something special.”
The Rams are 6-5 on the year and are coming off a close game against the division champion from Region 3-4A, Yazoo County.
“They’re big and athletic like a Tunica Rosa Fort,” Pice said. “They played Yazoo County last week, and they drove the ball down and had a chance to win in the final four minutes. That shows you how close the one and four teams are in that division.”
The Rams are led offensively by a sophomore duo in quarterback Justin Taylor, who has thrown for 1,020 yards and 12 touchdowns and running back Ladarius Brown, who has 951 rushing yards on 115 carries and five touchdowns. Senior Jakarius Flowers is the top receiver with 559 yards and nine touchdowns. Price stressed the importance of his team going out early and taking care of business.
“Anything can happen in the playoffs, so we’ve tried to tell our kids that there’s no time for screw ups, so we need to take care of business,” he said.
Friday’s first round game is set for a 7 p.m. kickoff at Kitchens’ Field.