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Saturday, July 26, 2014

COLUMN - TOUGH STRETCH AHEAD FOR ORAN

Wednesday, January 23, 2002

One week ago Oran was on top of the world. Seven days later, everything has changed.

Adversity hit the Eagles right on the nose in the Scott-Mississippi Conference Tournament last week when standout Ryne Wood suffered a broken schnauz Thursday.

Then on Friday, the team took one on the chin from Scott Central in the tournament's championship game. Wood got his nose fixed on Monday and is expected to miss around two weeks.

Can Oran survive without him?

Friday's game against Leopold shouldn't be much of a problem, but next week the Eagles will face district rivals Scott Central and Bell City. On Feb. 5, they host Sikeston, followed by road games at Richland and Advance.

In that tough stretch the Eagles could lose their state ranking, the No. 1 seed in 1A District 2, and any momentum they've built up to this point. Friday's game is just a tuneup before the real challenge starts for Oran.

Kelly at Sikeston

Struggling Kelly will have a tough time scoring on Sikeston's defense, which has allowed just 51 points per game against a quality schedule.

The Hawks will have trouble matching up with Lontas McClinton, Justin Freeman and Lavar Morgan. For the Bulldogs, a stiffer test comes Saturday at Portageville.

Kennett at Charleston

The Bluejays have been on a tear since the U-High tournament, playing like a team capable of winning state in 2A. We'll see if Charleston can keep it rolling against a talented Kennett squad, which has already defeated the Bluejays this year.

The Indians are looking for redemption after being upset by Doniphan on Saturday and smoked by NMCC last night. In a game that could go either way, always go with the home team -- especially when it's Charleston.

Chaffee at Scott Central

Scott Central has been on either a hot or cold streak all year. After losing their first game of the year, the Braves rattled off seven straight wins followed by five straight losses. Last night's win over East Prairie gives the Braves four straight wins.

On Friday Scott Central faces a team that has been much more consistent...consistently cold.

Meridian at East Prairie

Can East Prairie end its eight-game skid against a traditionally weak Meridian squad this Friday?

If Chris Wheatley, Matt Boyer and Dustin Poley all catch fire the Eagles have a shot.

If not, Travis Easley will single-handily deal East Prairie its ninth straight loss.

Doniphan at NMCC

The Dons appear to be peaking at the right time. Unfortunately, any momentum they gained with a shellacking of Neelyville, an upset over Kennett and a win over Cape Central is about to be lost.

NMCC will beat Doniphan as bad as they want to.

Final score: NMCC 68, Doniphan 48

The most exciting game of the Stoddard County Tournament on Friday will probably be the battle for third place at 5:30.

With Dexter in the mix, the championship game at 8:30 is almost guaranteed to be a blowout. Advance, Bell City and Richland are all solid 1A teams, but they're not on the same level as the 3A Bearcats.

They should at least give the small schools a shot by moving the tournament to a different location. Dexter has won 27 straight tournament games on the Bloomfield court.