HAYTI - The Portageville Bulldogs football team will travel south to take on SEMO Conference foe, the Hayti Indians.
Portageville (2-3) is coming off a road loss at Kennett last week as the Bulldogs fell 52-12, while Hayti (3-1) is rested and ready to go after having an open date last week.
In the series, the Bulldogs have a commanding lead over the Indians 41-22. Last year, Hayti defeated Portageville 28-6.
Coach Ashley Swims of Portageville understands that his team has to control the football against the fast-break style of offense presented by Hayti.
"We have to control the clock against them," said Swims. "We have to limit the chances that they have on offense. We are going to run right at them and hopefully chew up some clock."
After the open date, coach Shawn Jackson of Hayti is eager to take the field.
"The last two weeks have been the best two weeks of practice we have had since I've been here," said Jackson. "No excuses to be flat after a week off. No injuries to report. We are ready to play."
Portageville will feature a balanced running attack led by senior C.J. Medley (5-8, 142) who leads the Bulldogs in rushing with 358 yards and four touchdowns. Leonard Boyd (5-8, 241) is second on the team with 230 yards rushing.
Casey Ash (5-8, 160) and Trey Mosby (5-11, 149) contribute to the rushing attack as they have rushed for 192 and 134 yards respectively.
"We like to mix it up on the ground," said Swims. "We have a balanced rushing attack and I like to keep the defense guessing as to who will get the football."
Coach Swims is high on Medley who he said has been a constant in the Bulldogs offense.
"I can count on him for every play," said Swims. "He is our team leader and our team counts on him to make plays."
Senior Tyler Fowler (6-0, 150) runs the show at quarterback but is not expected to make every play for Portageville. After five games, Fowler has passed for 123 yards with two touchdown passes and an interception.
"He is getting better every week and improving every game," said Swims.
On the offensive line, the Bulldogs will feature a senior dominated line which makes Portageville's rushing attack hum. Led by offensive guards Jared Brands (6-1, 225) and Paul Davidson (5-9, 200), the offensive line is the best part of the offensive attack for Portageville.
"We are going to have to run it down their throats and that will start up front with our line," said Swims. "They are a solid bunch and they make us go."
Portageville will feature Ash, who has four receptions for 33 yards and a receiving touchdown and Mosby who has caught three passes for 77 yards and two touchdowns. Ash is the dependable receiver who will catch anything short while Mosby is the deep threat.
On defense, the Indians will be led by sophomore defensive end William Norris (5-8, 245) who leads the team in tackles for a loss from his defensive line position.
At linebackers, Jackson praises junior Jerome Covington (6-0, 170) and sophomore Jamestic Gooden (6-0, 180) who play consistent and stuff the run for the Indians. Gooden leads Hayti in tackles.
The Indians will feature some talented cornerbacks in Danarius Harris (5-8, 150) and Dominique Webster (5-10, 150) who can also crowd the line and make some plays on the running game.
"They are very good up front," said Jackson. "Their offensive line fires off the football and they have some good running backs. They use three yards and cloud of dust-type offense that we have to stuff at the point of attack. We have to force some negative plays on defense."
Coach Swims is worried about the speed that Hayti can present on defense.
"They are very fast on defense and have a good secondary," said Swims. "We are going to run it right at them because we can't out-run them."
Hayti will feature a spread offense that will use a lot of play-action passes and will go for the big play at every opportunity.
"Go for the throat at every chance," said Jackson. "We use shotgun and our quarterback can audible at the line."
Senior Anthony Guyton (6-0, 195) will quarterback the Indians and has the mental capacity to run the complex offense displayed by Hayti. Guyton will head to Princeton University on an academic scholarship next year.
On the season, Guyton has passed for 471 yards with three touchdowns and one interception.
Guyton is also a threat to run as he has scored three rushing touchdowns on the season.
At receiver, Hayti has tall players who can all run and jump and make big plays. Junior Standrique Matlock (6-1, 170) leads the team in receiving yards with 213 yards on 12 reception and has scored three touchdowns.
Senior DeCarlos Wilkins (5-11, 175) has 12 catches good for 172 yards and sophomore Shawn Jones (6-2, 181) has nine receptions for 102 yards and a touchdown.
"We've had five touchdowns called back from our receivers," said Jackson. "By himself, Jones has had three touchdowns called back."
Although Tremayne Pickens (5-10, 180) is the leading rusher on the team with 427 yards and three touchdowns, Jackson stated Pickens will spend most of his time on the defense trying to shore up that unit.
"We have not been getting what we need at the running back position so some changes had to be made," said Jackson.
Wilkins is Hayti's inside receiver but can be used in running situations as he has gained 381 yards on only 32 carries and has scored two rushing touchdowns.
Jackson stated that sophomore Lloyd Fisher (5-8, 156), who has been banged up all year with an ankle sprain, is back at full health and will be counted on help in the running attack.
"Lloyd has been clocked this week at 4.5 40-yard dash and he will see some time this week," said Jackson.
The Indians offensive line has played well all season and has given up only three sacks all season, led by sophomore left tackle William Cooper (6-5, 250), who Jackson believes can some day be a Division I prospect at the college level.
Right tackle Lorenzon Jackson (6-1, 190) has been Hayti's most consistent lineman so far this season.
Portageville will be led by Brands, who from his linebacker position, leads the team with 50 tackles. Brands will be everywhere on the field Friday night and can be counted on to be in on most plays.
Medley is second on the team with 44 tackles and he will play at outside linebacker. On the D-line, Davidson is solid and reliable as he has made 29 tackles on the season and junior safety Nathan Martin will be counted to be around the football at all times.
Cornerbacks Ash and Mosby will be counted on heavily to try and slow down the passing attack of the Indians.
"We have been working on pass coverages all week," said Swims. "Containing their running backs is also a concern and we need to keep them inside and not let them get outside and burn us."
Jackson is concerned with the Bulldogs defensive line and hopes that he can try and play big play football.
"They are good on the line and show a lot of discipline," said Jackson. "They have good linebackers who swarm to the ball. But they play a loose zone in the secondary and we will try and exploit that."
Hayti will come in with a lot of confidence for this game while Portageville is reeling from last week's defeat at the hands of Kennett.
Look for the Bulldogs to try and chew up clock with a balanced running attack and frustrate the Indians with ball control. However, Hayti should make some big plays and have enough to hold off the Bulldogs.