Prairie View (0-3) at Central Hinds (3-0), Friday, 7 p.m.
At first glance, Prairie View coach Reagan Morrison thought he had received the wrong film as he began studying this week's opponent. PVA visits former MAIS District 3-2A rival Central Hinds on Friday at 7 p.m. in Raymond, Miss.
As he began preparing for the contest, Morrison was surprised to see the Cougars' quarterback drop back in the shotgun.
“Offensively, it just didn't look like Central Hinds,” Morrison said. “I'm used to seeing them in the I formation 90 percent of the time. Now, they're in shotgun like a Single Wing with a lot of motion, a lot of pulling and a lot of misdirection. That just wasn't what I expected.”
Morrison was in for another surprise when he saw the Cougars' roster. After losing a large senior class from last year's District 3-2A championship team, Central Hinds carries only 18 players on its varsity roster — one less than the Spartans.
“I'm used to seeing them with about 40 players,” Morrison said.
Nevertheless, the makeover is working for the 3-0 Cougars, who have rattled off consecutive victories over Class 3A East Rankin (27-13), Riverfield (48-22) and Hartfield (48-6).
“They have a little different look, but they still have good athletes and they're still a good football team,” Morrison said. “They're a young football team, but they're a good football team.”
Offensively, the Cougars rely on the running of Brian King and Jake Hale.
“They're definitely a run-oriented football team,” Morrison said. “They didn't throw the ball a whole lot in the two films I've seen, but they didn't have to. Brian King rushed for well over 1,000 yards last year as a sophomore and he had good games against Riverfield and Hartfield in the two films I've seen.
“They're big up front. The two guards have real good size.”
King doubles as a linebacker.
“Defensively, they play a 4-4,” Morrison said. “Their big guys keep the linebackers clean, which allows them to go from sideline to sideline and make tackles. As big as their defensive tackles are, people are going to have to double team them most of the time.”
Morrison says the Cougars are also sound on special teams.
“Central Hinds is always real solid in the kicking game,” Morrison said. “We're probably going to take it from the 20 every time.”
As for his own team, Morrison says the Spartans need to minimize their mistakes on offense and put more hats on the ball carrier.
“We know we have our hands full this week,” Morrison said. “Offensively, we have to quit making so many mistakes and get more consistent. Defensively, we have to do a better job of wrapping up. King and Hale will run right through an arm tackle. We have to put a shoulder into them and form tackle and it has to be more than one person. We have to gang tackle.”
Coming off of losses to Riverdale (16-12), Cenla (52-0) and Claiborne (42-20), the Spartans are searching for their first win.
With quarterback Dylan Carroll making his first appearance of the season, the Spartans had their most productive offensive game to this point last week. Hunter Carpenter rushed for 100 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries and Cole Bryan caught four passes for 43 yards, including a 22-yard TD grab to lead the Spartans offensively.
Linebackers Layne Gray and Hunter Green both established career-highs with 16 and 14 tackles, respectively.
Next Friday, the Spartans return home against Trinity Episcopal.