By Reid Bankston
With a physical division loss to Bruce behind them, the Blue Devils now turn their attention to J.Z. George, a team that topped Water Valley 62-41 in 2007, representing the most points given up by Water Valley in school history. Opportunity and payback are there to be had for the Blue Devils on senior night, as a victory over the Jaguars (3-5, 1-2) would practically put Water Valley into the playoffs, a year after missing the postseason for the first time since 1997.
“It (Playoff Spot) would be huge for our program and our kids for long term success. Once you get in the playoffs, everybody is 0-0 and anything can happen,” said defensive coordinator Richard Russo. “Our kids are hungry and they want to be in the playoffs. We’ll leave it all on the field Friday night because it means so much.”
While the Blue Devils are in a favorable position to clinch a playoff spot, J.Z. George, led by an extremely balanced offensive attack, will look to do their own playoff hopes some good by securing the road victory.
“They’re (J.Z. George) is the most balanced attack we’ve seen all year as far as running and passing schemes,” said Russo.
For Water Valley, not only is Friday night a chance to firmly place the program back on the right track, but it is a chance for 12 Blue Devil seniors to watch their careers come full circle.
“I’ve really enjoyed working with these 12 seniors. They’ve been through some good times as freshmen and some bad times. They’ve done a great job of doing what Coach Embry has asked them to do, and we thank them so much for helping lay the foundation of our program,” said Russo.
If Water Valley can indeed secure a postseason date, one last home game wouldn’t be out of the question, as a first round playoff victory would bring the action back to Bobby Clark Field one last time in 2008.
“If they (seniors) want to have a chance to play at home again, they’ll give it their all Friday night,” said Russo.