• 57°

Devils head to Aberdeen for 2nd-round matchup

A 32-12 win over Velma Jackson in the first round of the MHSAA Class 3A playoffs has Water Valley on to the the second round and winners of their last five games.

They would like to keep the momentum going.

“They’re confident,” Water Valley coach Brad Embry said of his team. “Confidence in that we can get the job done and that we need to prepare. The way the season went early has kept us grounded. It’s good confidence.”

The Blue Devils (7-5) hit the road this week as they travel to Aberdeen to take on the Bulldogs (9-3).

Aberdeen comes into the second round after a dominating 52-6 win over Belmont in their opening round game last week. The Bulldogs entered the playoffs as the No. 1 seed out of Region 4-3A after posting a 5-0 record in region play.

The last time the two schools met was 2012 when Water Valley and Aberdeen were Region 2-3A foes. The Blue Devils fell 20-13 in Aberdeen.

“They’re athletic,” Embry said of Aberdeen. “We have a history of playing Aberdeen and they’re still that athletic team. (Head coach Eric) Spann does a good job of getting the ball in his playmakers hands. We’ve got to limit that, cut out big plays that they’re capable of.”

The Bulldogs are led by senior quarterback Tremonte Prather. The signal caller has completed 120-of-211 passes for 2,078 yards and 25 touchdowns in 12 games. He has also thrown 11 interceptions.

Prather also lends his services to the running game with 556 yards and nine touchdowns on 106 carries. Fellow senior Donte Carter leads the ground game with 655 yards and eight touchdowns on 125 carries.

“(Prather) does a good job. He’s a threat with his arm and his leg,” Embry said. “They got a good little running back, a couple of them and they put four wide receivers that are dangerous. You got to pick your poison.”

If Water Valley wants to see themselves into the third round next week they will have to find a way to put up points against an Aberdeen defense that is holding opponents to 16.7 points per game and has two shutout under their belt this season.

The Blue Devil offense has come alive in the past month, averaging 31.2 points a game during their current winning streak.

“We’ve got to move the ball offensively, try to keep the ball away from them so our defense is not on the field all night,” Embry said. “They play an odd front and they’re good at it. They’re gap sound and they know where to be. They don’t do a lot of different stuff but they’re really good at what they do. I don’t see a lot of holes back there, the secondary is real athletic. Up front they got a lot of guys that look like linebackers with their hands on the ground.”