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Water Valley hosts South Pontotoc to begin 3A playoffs

After a year absence Water Valley is playing postseason football again.

With a resurgent year, coming off a 2-9 season in 2016 the Blue Devils found their way back to the Class 3A playoffs.

Water Valley (7-4) hosts South Pontotoc in the first round on Friday (7 p.m., 105.5 FM) after earning the No. 2 seed in Region 2-3A. The Blue Devils fell to North Panola 22-0 last week in the region championship.

The winner will play the winner of Yazoo County and Booneville in next week’s second round.

“It’s a different time of year,” Water Valley head coach Brad Embry said. “It’s new to them. Because the kids are young. Obviously, we had some kids that played in the playoffs. But, it’s new and exciting. We’re just trying to let people rest and get their bodies ready to go again on Friday night.”

The Cougars (8-3) are limping into the playoffs after cooling off from their hot start to the season. After winning their first seven games and starting 1-0 in Region 4-3A they dropped three of their last four. A win over Aberdeen last week gave them the No. 3 seed and a trip to Bobby Clark Field.

Senior Cole Brown leads the offense with over 1,300 yards and nearly 20 touchdowns off 67 of 127 completed passes. He has thrown six interceptions.

It is a balanced offensive attack with the ground game producing over 2,500 yards. Junior Eddie Ivy leads with 1,396 yards and 15 touchdowns on 172 carries.

“They’re well coached,” Embry said of South Pontotoc. “When I watch them on film they’re very sound, very fundamental. They play really hard. They’ve got some really good players. I understand why they started out the way they did.”

The status of quarterback Ty Varner and running back Trenderrious Brock are still listed as day-to-day by Embry.

Varner is dealing with an injury to his non-throwing shoulder while Brock is dealing with a lower body injury.

Blayne Clark made his first career start last week for Water Valley in place of Varner. With the weather wreaking havoc there were not many passing opportunities, yet Clark finished with 88 yards, completing five of 16 passes. He threw one pick.

“That’s what sports is about. Someone gets banged up, gets injured. It’s the next guy’s turn to preform,” Embry said. “I’m very confident in Blayne. He wasn’t given playing time. He’s earned it. Blayne practices well and plays well.”