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Central wants to avoid seasonal ‘Holliday’ rush

Central wants to avoid seasonal ‘Holliday’ rush
Central wants to avoid seasonal ‘Holliday’ rush | Central wants to avoid seasonal ‘Holliday’ rush
By MIKE HUTCHENS
Messenger Sports Editor
With Thanksgiving just three weeks away and Christmas less than two months around the corner, Obion Central hopes to avoid a “Holliday” experience during its trip to Memphis Friday.
Fairley running back Marcus Holliday, who as a sophomore ran for 150 yards and three touchdowns vs. the Rebels — including the game-winner with less than two minutes to play — will present a huge challenge to an OC defense that has proven susceptible to such rushers when sixth-ranked Central plays the Bulldogs at Crump Stadium in a Class 4A Round 1 playoff game.
The contest is a rematch of one at a similar stage two years ago when Central won largely every statistical category except the one that mattered in a 34-28 loss to the Memphians.
Holliday, the same-name son of a former University of Memphis and ex-NFL player, is a two-time 1,000-yard rusher for the Bulldogs who has drawn college interest from Cincinnati, Arkansas State, Memphis and Kentucky, according to head coach Rahnmann Slocum. He will play in the East-West All Star game in December at Carson-Newman.
Holliday is ranked among Shelby County’s top running backs with nearly 1,200 yards and 19 touchdowns this season, those numbers accumulated in just seven games due to a dislocated elbow injury. Not coincidentally, Fairley lost two of the three games he missed, albeit to highly-touted opponents Whitehaven and Mitchell.
Also a track star who reportedly finished third in the state in the 300 meter hurdles, the senior speedster is the headliner for a Bulldog team that will come in at 7-3, but after a sloppy 12-0 loss to Sheffield in its final regular season game.
Rahnmann, in his 13th season coaching at his alma mater, insists a repeat performance of the contest isn’t forthcoming from his troops.
“God smacked them in the face a little bit last week, but He’s given them another chance,” Rahnmann said. “They know they’re blessed to still be playing and I expect us to take advantage of that this week.
“We had seven turnovers. We were flat, for some reason. We should’ve never lost to them.”
Unlike two years ago when the coach and his team knew little about the Rebels before their playoff matchup, Rahnmann has scouted OC via video when he and Central skipper Shawn Jackson swapped tape last week.
And he’s admittedly impressed.
“They’ve got some ballplayers,” the coach insisted. “That No. 2 (LaDevin Fair) and No. 9 (Marcus Parr), man they can go. If they’d like to leave those two at home, it’d be fine with me.
“The quarterback (Trey Phipps) throws a good ball, too.”
Fairley is back in the playoffs after going 3-7 and missing the tournament a year ago, breaking a five-season run in which it had made it in — the last four advancing at least two rounds.
This year’s Bulldog team is a relatively young bunch, made up largely of sophomores and juniors, according to the coach.
“We’re learning. We learned to tie our shoes last year. We’re walking now,” Slocum laughed. “We have gotten better, though, as the year’s gone on, not counting last week.”
He insisted that though Holliday is indeed the most noteable player on his squad, 6-3 linebacker Dedrick Guy and his nephew, junior Demarius Peppers (6-3, 260) — a two-way lineman — can play, too. He said one key this week would be how center John Gillespie (6-1, 250) could handle space-eating OC nose guard Skylar Hopkins, who is listed at 5-9, 343.
The coach also said that Obion Central’s explosive offense (41 ppg) will meet with a stiff challenge in his defense that is giving up less than 120 yards-per-game. The Bulldogs have held six of their 10 opponents to eight points or less.
“We’re pretty good on defense,” Slocum said matter-of-factly.
Unlike two years ago when their contest was played on a J.P. Freeman field that had little grass in most spots, the teams will enjoy the artificial turf at Crump Stadium.
Despite his team’s speedy reputation gained via a track program he mandates his players participate in, Slocum said he’s not sure the Bulldogs will have a decided advantage against the Rebel squad he’s seen on film.By MIKE HUTCHENS
Messenger Sports Editor
With Thanksgiving just three weeks away and Christmas less than two months around the corner, Obion Central hopes to avoid a “Holliday” experience during its trip to Memphis Friday.
Fairley running back Marcus Holliday, who as a sophomore ran for 150 yards and three touchdowns vs. the Rebels — including the game-winner with less than two minutes to play — will present a huge challenge to an OC defense that has proven susceptible to such rushers when sixth-ranked Central plays the Bulldogs at Crump Stadium in a Class 4A Round 1 playoff game.
The contest is a rematch of one at a similar stage two years ago when Central won largely every statistical category except the one that mattered in a 34-28 loss to the Memphians.
Holliday, the same-name son of a former University of Memphis and ex-NFL player, is a two-time 1,000-yard rusher for the Bulldogs who has drawn college interest from Cincinnati, Arkansas State, Memphis and Kentucky, according to head coach Rahnmann Slocum. He will play in the East-West All Star game in December at Carson-Newman.
Holliday is ranked among Shelby County’s top running backs with nearly 1,200 yards and 19 touchdowns this season, those numbers accumulated in just seven games due to a dislocated elbow injury. Not coincidentally, Fairley lost two of the three games he missed, albeit to highly-touted opponents Whitehaven and Mitchell.
Also a track star who reportedly finished third in the state in the 300 meter hurdles, the senior speedster is the headliner for a Bulldog team that will come in at 7-3, but after a sloppy 12-0 loss to Sheffield in its final regular season game.
Rahnmann, in his 13th season coaching at his alma mater, insists a repeat performance of the contest isn’t forthcoming from his troops.
“God smacked them in the face a little bit last week, but He’s given them another chance,” Rahnmann said. “They know they’re blessed to still be playing and I expect us to take advantage of that this week.
“We had seven turnovers. We were flat, for some reason. We should’ve never lost to them.”
Unlike two years ago when the coach and his team knew little about the Rebels before their playoff matchup, Rahnmann has scouted OC via video when he and Central skipper Shawn Jackson swapped tape last week.
And he’s admittedly impressed.
“They’ve got some ballplayers,” the coach insisted. “That No. 2 (LaDevin Fair) and No. 9 (Marcus Parr), man they can go. If they’d like to leave those two at home, it’d be fine with me.
“The quarterback (Trey Phipps) throws a good ball, too.”
Fairley is back in the playoffs after going 3-7 and missing the tournament a year ago, breaking a five-season run in which it had made it in — the last four advancing at least two rounds.
This year’s Bulldog team is a relatively young bunch, made up largely of sophomores and juniors, according to the coach.
“We’re learning. We learned to tie our shoes last year. We’re walking now,” Slocum laughed. “We have gotten better, though, as the year’s gone on, not counting last week.”
He insisted that though Holliday is indeed the most noteable player on his squad, 6-3 linebacker Dedrick Guy and his nephew, junior Demarius Peppers (6-3, 260) — a two-way lineman — can play, too. He said one key this week would be how center John Gillespie (6-1, 250) could handle space-eating OC nose guard Skylar Hopkins, who is listed at 5-9, 343.
The coach also said that Obion Central’s explosive offense (41 ppg) will meet with a stiff challenge in his defense that is giving up less than 120 yards-per-game. The Bulldogs have held six of their 10 opponents to eight points or less.
“We’re pretty good on defense,” Slocum said matter-of-factly.
Unlike two years ago when their contest was played on a J.P. Freeman field that had little grass in most spots, the teams will enjoy the artificial turf at Crump Stadium.
Despite his team’s speedy reputation gained via a track program he mandates his players participate in, Slocum said he’s not sure the Bulldogs will have a decided advantage against the Rebel squad he’s seen on film.
“All our skill kids are pretty fast, but you still have to play the game. And I’m not sure with the way Obion throws the ball, they won’t have the advantage on the turf,” the coach claimed.
Kickoff is 7 p.m.
Sports editor Mike Hutchens can be contacted by e-mail at mhutch@ucmessenger.com. Published in The Messenger 11.2.11
“All our skill kids are pretty fast, but you still have to play the game. And I’m not sure with the way Obion throws the ball, they won’t have the advantage on the turf,” the coach claimed.
Kickoff is 7 p.m.
Sports editor Mike Hutchens can be contacted by e-mail at mhutch@ucmessenger.com. Published in The Messenger 11.2.11

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