Despite recording one of its biggest wins in program history last week and inching closer to entering the Class A Top 10 poll this week, the Cedar Creek Cougars are still on the outside looking in when it comes to the upcoming Division IV playoffs.
Creek (4-3) is in a must-win scenario Friday night when they host Delta Charter (6-2) at 7 p.m. at Cougar Stadium for Homecoming.
“We are sitting at 18 right now,” said Cougar head coach Matt Middleton referring to the Power Ratings that decide the playoff picture. “To be honest we have to win out, and we need a few of the teams ahead of us to lose. So we can win tomorrow night, and we still won’t know for sure until after next weekend is over.”
There is little doubt that the Cougars are one of the top private schools in Division IV with heartbreaking losses to OCS, St. Frederick and Class 2A Jonesboro Hodge and a 13-9 win over Oak Grove. However, with only 16 teams
“I think coach Steven Fitzhugh (at Ouachita Christian) said it best; the system is broken,” said Middleton. “The (public side) has 30 teams, and they put 24 into the playoffs. There are 29 private schools (in Division IV), and we only put 16 teams into the playoffs.
“At the end of the day we should have won more games, but I do think the system is broken. And we still have a chance. We just need to control what we can control and win the next two weeks.”
Creek is coming off the 13-9 win over Oak Grove last Friday night. The Cougars have been trending in the right direction for the last month and Middleton has been pleased with their response in practice this week following the big win.
“We have had a good week,” said Middleton. “I think our team is pretty mature. I think we have had a good week of preparation. I think they know we have to win out. It’s homecoming so as a coach you always are a little worried about (their focus) but again I think they know how important this week is.”
Delta Charter enters the contest with a 6-2 record. The two losses are blowouts defeats at the hands of Ouachita Christian (56-8) and Oak Grove (42-8) but have averaged almost 40 points per game in their six victories.
“They are coming in with a good record,” said Middleton. “They are going to run the ball a good bit. They are a counter type team. They will throw it enough to keep you honest, but they really want to run the football.”
The Cougars defense has been stellar all season long, allowing only two teams (OCS, Jonesboro Hodge) to score multiple TDs this year. In its other five games, Creek has allowed a total of just 35 points.
Offensively, Cedar Creek has run the ball consistently all season with the likes of Jed Worthey, AJ Thomas and Lawson Lillo, but has seen its passing game improve over the past few weeks led by quarterback Caden Middleton.
After tonight’s game against Delta Charter, Creek will finish its regular season against Tensas.
Photo: Darrell James (dgjames.photoshelter.com)
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