November 29, 2009 12:13:00 AM
For the third consecutive week, an unbeaten team stands in the way of the Aberdeen High School football team''s quest for its first state championship.
A week ago, unbeaten Charleston (13-0) was eliminated in a Class 3A quarterfinal contest at Aberdeen. On Friday, the Bulldogs handed home standing Booneville (13-0) its first blemish in the North Half finals.
At 11 a.m. Saturday, coach Chris Duncan''s Bulldogs will go head-to-head with Tylertown (14-0), a 28-18 winner against Morton in Friday''s South State finals.
"We have one more goal to accomplish, one more week to focus, and one more week to get ready," said Duncan, who is in his third year as head coach at Aberdeen High. "We won''t be satisfied until we get one more win."
Although they have never met on the football field, Aberdeen and Tylertown have a lot in common.
For openers, both squads sport quick-strike offensive potential and both rely on a tough, no-nonsense approach on defense.
Both teams also had problems with Louisville last year. The Bulldogs lost a regular-season matchup and then a North State final against the Wildcats, while the Chiefs dropped a bitter decision in the 3A finals at Mississippi Memorial Stadium.
Individually, both teams feature a Mississippi State commitment -- Jamerson Love and Jameon "Tubby" Lewis, both of whom are offensive standouts who are projected to line up as defensive backs in college. Both players also were selected to play in the Mississippi-Alabama-Mississippi All Star Classic at Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile, Ala.
Both teams feature a bevy of speedy receivers who are attracting attention from the college recruiters -- Erik Buchanan, Rashad Pargo, Mario Lucas and Jalen Devauld for the Bulldogs and Jawon Jackson and Ken Brown for the Chiefs.
Tylertown, The Clarion-Ledger''s No. 1 preseason pick to capture the 3A championship, went undefeated at home (8-0) and on the road (6-0) en route to its perfect record, which included a season-opening 22-21 win against 6A South State finalist Ocean Springs. The Chiefs also defeated 6A Vicksburg and 4A Lawrence County and South Pike.
A 5-foot-9, 175-pound athlete/defensive back with a 4.41 40-yard dash time, Lewis keys and offense that has scored 387 points this season. Described as a wide receiver/cornerback who just happens to play quarterback, he averages 77.6 yards passing per game and 57.5 rushing in coach Walter Denton''s spread Wing-T offense.
According to the College Football Recruiting Web site, Lewis is "an electrifying athlete with the ball in his hands and has the quickness and skill-set to play numerous positions ... at the next level."
Up front, the Chiefs look to four linemen who stand 6-2 and tip the scales in the 280-285 range.
"Another week, another challenge for our players," Duncan said. "Hopefully, we''ll have a good week of practice, and hopefully that will pay off in Jackson next Saturday."