CHARLESTON -- Both the Charleston Bluejays and Portageville Bulldogs have started the season with two losses in two games.
One of those teams will end their winless streak on Friday night.
The Bulldogs will travel to Charleston with injuries and eligibility problems plaguing their entire backfield. Both running backs, Demetric Trotter and D.J. Birdwell, have been battling shoulder problems that has stopped any contact with them during practice.
"We've been bitten by the injury bug and we've got some personal situations that we're trying to work through," Portageville head coach Lee Wallace said. "We've got some things kind of heading in the right direction and we just got a lot of things complicating it at the moment.
"Our entire backfield have been out of sync this week with injuries and eligibility issues," Wallace continued. "Charleston's our next best opportunity and they look like they have some of the similar issues. But, if we can't rectify our backfield with some of our starting players, that's going to put us a little behind."
Charleston's injury problems are somewhat lighter than the Bulldogs with only James Miller out with "some type of chest problem" and running back Jerquawn Sherrell with a sprained ankle with no indication of how available he will be. Quarterback Chase McClendon should be back and healthy with his knee problems healing well and Garrison Eastman's chest problems are "starting to heal up."
"Right now we're looking at being pretty healthy," Charleston head coach Dan Kesselring said. "The main thing that we're going to try to do is regroup the troops from the loss at Sikeston, We're going to try and get back into the tempo of football season. Right now, I've told everybody this before, we're about a week behind where we should be. We've got some younger kids that this week we're trying to re-teach some of the fundamentals."
Kesselring said he did see one positive thing come from that defeat of Sikeston last Friday that will hopefully carry over into this Friday.
"The one thing that we thought we did is after Sikeston's first score, we came back and played a good series of defense and stopped them," Kesselring said. "Then we took the ball and drove it down the field and scored. That shows signs of what we can do. What we need to do is do that on a consistent basis."
Portageville is hoping that all the injuries and personal problems will be gone by tonight and hopefully turn everything around. Starting with good defensive play.
"The defense is playing better," said Wallace. "We seem to be more energetic and look forward to defense days at practice. We're heading in the right direction defensively. We just have to get the offense going.
"If we can't keep everybody in place its going to be tough for us to hit pay dirt," he added. "I'm hoping we'll turn the corner. It's just a matter of us trying to put together another good defensive night and try to get the offense going and do our best and see what happens."
Charleston and Portageville will kick-off at 7 p.m. tonight.