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Tyler needs to beat Blue Devils to get in playoffs

St. Marys hosts a game with victory

ST. MARYS –A Week 11 matchup with heavy playoff seeding implications in Class A will be underway on Friday night from St. Marys when the hometown Blue Devils battle the Tyler Consolidated Knights. The Blue Devils (7-2) enter this game winners of their last four, as they try and assert themselves toward the top of the postseason pack.

They sit at No. 7 in the latest rankings, as this Senior Night contest could prove to be a big boost for them heading into a wide open playoff race.

A balanced but potent offensive attack for SMHS comes into this regular season finale looking to pick up where it left off against Ravenswood from Week 10. Leading the way for the Devils was Ben Long. The junior running back found paydirt twice in the win and ran for more than 100 yards on 14 carries.

A surging offensive line gave William Steele holes to run through, as he averaged almost eight yards per carry in the win. While St. Marys proved it can run the football, Tyler Consolidated has its own big threat with the end zone on his mid.

The Knights (6-3) enter Week 11 on the outside, looking in. At No. 17, a win is needed to bolster the Knights and their chances of a playoff appearance.

Running back Mark Rucker came into the 2019 season with his own big expectations, and a win on Friday could keep the dream alive. Quarterback Gage Huffman has his options to target, and getting the offense involved early is what the Knights want to do against a St. Marys team ready to do battle.

SMHS head coach Jodi Mote knows what’s on the line for his squad, and he wants to get off on the right foot at Bill Hanlin Stadium. Still, he wants his team to be aware of the challenges posed by TCHS.

“You know, obviously, their quarterback and running back are outstanding. Defensively, they do a nice job of getting to the football,” Mote said.

“On offense, we’ve got to execute. It sounds simple, but it’s what you’ve got to do.”

Tyler Consolidated head coach Ryan Walton is aware of what is at stake for his group on the playoff bubble, and a victory over the Blue Devils is exactly what his team needs, at the moment.

“If anybody’s watched St. Marys this year, they know their defense is very aggressive. They like to run downhill,” Walton said. “(A win) would definitely be huge. We’ve talked about it since we played Magnolia that that was the start of our playoffs. I told them if they want to keep playing in the postseason, they’ve got to keep winning. That’s been our battle cry since then. You’ve got to keep winning.”

Contact Josh Hughes at jhughes@newsandsentinel.com

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