Prairie View (1-0) at Franklin Academy (0-1), Friday, 7 p.m.
On paper, Prairie View's game at Franklin Academy has all the makings of a mismatch. Nevertheless, coach Bo Barton is looking for improvement when the Spartans travel to Winnsboro for their MAIS Division 3 8-man opener Friday at 7 p.m.
Prairie View is ranked No. 1 by Mississippi Gridiron after posting a 38-8 road victory over Wilkinson County Christian (Miss.) in its 8-man debut. Franklin, meanwhile, is trying to regroup from a 68-12 loss at the hands of Tensas Academy.
Clearly, the Spartans' convincing win over WCCA was noticed throughout the 8-man ranks. Barton, however, wasn't as impressed as the voters.
"Miraculously, somebody thought we should be ranked No. 1 this week, but if you would have seen the (WCCA) film, you would say, 'No way this is the No. 1 team,'" Barton said. "The win Friday night was a good one, don't get me wrong. I was proud of the kids and proud of the effort. But I've been in this before and we have a long way to go. There are four or five teams better than WCCA, and we have two of them in our district."
Barton was somewhat surprised by the Spartans' No. 1 ranking when the poll was released earlier this week.
"I figured we would be in the top five because people were going to look back and say, 'They were a 2A team last year and made the semifinals,'" Barton said. "I think a lot of people were worried about WCCA. Then they see the score and say, 'What's Prairie View doing?' I've had a lot of requests this week from people wanting to see film on WCCA, but I think they are really wanting to see us."
What Barton sees when viewing the Spartans on film is a team with plenty of mistakes to correct.
"We're not worried about (rankings) this early. We have to get a lot better," Barton said. "We had way too many missed assignments and way too many cramps in the third quarter. We just have to play better Friday night.
"We've been working on Franklin this week, but mainly we've been working on Prairie View. I want us to be able to come in Monday, look at the film and say, 'We see some improvement.'"
Franklin, meanwhile, is look to make a 180-degree turnaround from last week.
"At this point, you can throw the records out," Barton said. "We have a chance to go 1-0 in district, and that's what we have to do."
Prairie View blanked the Cougars 14-0 and edged Tensas 14-12 two weeks ago in jamboree play.
"They have a couple of big kids and their quarterback can throw the ball around," Barton said. "They gave up a lot of points against Tensas, but you also have to remember that Tensas scored 12 points on us in a quarter in the jamboree."
Austin Carroll and Jaheem Brown had big games for the Spartans on both sides of the ball against WCCA. Carroll rushed for a team-high 90 yards and a touchdown to go with 14 tackles, including two in the backfield. Brown was the team's second-leading rusher (9 carries, 75 yards) and tackler (5 tackles, 2 tackles for loss).
Woodard Mott and Greg Tatum both contributed a touchdown reception and an interception.
Next Friday, the Spartans play their first home game against Tallulah.