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Water Valley ready to start ‘second season’ in region play with Charleston

The non-region portion of Water Valley’s schedule is over and head coach Brad Embry is ready to see it end. Outside of a 55-0 rout of Coffeeville in the second week of the season, the Blue Devils have not had much to be cheerful about. Water Valley (1-5) has been outscored 245-125 and is currently riding a four-game losing streak after dropping last week’s homecoming matchup to Winona, 54-19.

“It’s easier to do that this year. You don’t mind throwing out your record,” Embry said. “We need a second season start right here. It’s 0-0 and a tough test right off the bat. We had a good week of practice. That’s part of it. Some ninth and 10th-graders learning to practice again and some reality setting in for some older kids that are thinking, ‘Man, we got just a very small window left.’”

That tough test comes Friday night (7 p.m., 105.5 FM) in the form of Charleston, which is the defending Region 2-3A champions since it joined the region in 2013 and Class 3A runner-up for three of the last four seasons and won the state championship in 2011. The Blue Devils are riding a five-game losing streak to Charleston dating back to 2011.

The Tigers (4-2) are coming off a 34-21 loss to Lafayette last week and were shut out in the first half with their running attack contained by the Commodore defense.

“They’re definitely athletic,” Embry said of Charleston. “From what I’m told and seen, they’re probably the best 3A team in the North at least. … It’s definitely a challenge and I would say probably not a lot of people expect us to have a chance. That’s an easy way to play football. Play loose, play free and play fast. A chance to get better.”

Against Lafayette, Charleston running back Billy Kimble did score three touchdowns late in the second half but was held to under 200 yards rushing on 22 carries. Quarterback Tre Truly went 8 of 15 for 136 yards  and had -20 yards rushing on 21 carries.

There is still optimism around the Water Valley program as they have had poor starts to seasons before but managed to turn things around when the games matter. The Blue Devils have finished second in the region the past four years with a 4-1 record each season. Three of those years saw them finish behind Charleston.