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Oxford travels to Hernando with a home playoff game in their sights

OXFORD — For the first time in school history Oxford will be playing in the Class 6A playoffs next month. The Chargers clinched a berth with their Homecoming win over Columbus last week.

The celebration was short-lived on Friday as there is still plenty for the Chargers (7-2, 4-1 Region 1-6A) to accomplish in the final two weeks of the regular season. The first item on that list
is securing a home playoff game in the first round and avoiding a trip to Jackson on Nov. 9.

“We had an opportunity to clinch a playoff spot in 6A and that was definitely a goal of ours beginning this season. So, we were able to accomplish that,” Oxford head coach Chris Cutcliffe said. “I was proud of our players and coaches for getting that done. Everybody is excited about that opportunity but they know there is still work to do in the regular season. We’ve got a big opportunity to host a home playoff game. So, we’ve got to continue to take care of our business.”

The seeding scenario for Region 1-6A is a muddle of ‘what ifs’ and potential tiebreakers. The only thing the Chargers know for sure is that if they finished 2-0 in the next two weeks, they will be playing postseason football at Bobby Holcomb Field.

Hernando has already been eliminated from the playoffs. The only role they can play is spoiler, starting with hosting the Chargers on Friday (7 p.m., 95.5 FM). The Tigers (3-6, 1-4 Region 1-6A) have not had much success since region play began, but handing Oxford a loss would send the top half of the region into chaos heading into the final week.

“Our region is tough. We know that,” Cutcliffe said. “They’re not a 1-4 kind of football team. They have some good players, really good coaching and they do a really fantastic job. I know we have a tough challenge on the road.”

Hernando quarterback Dylan Faulk has thrown for 1,632 yards, making himself one of the top passers in 1-6A.

The challenge could become tougher if one of Oxford’s key offensive players is not dressed out. J.J. Pegues suffered an injury on a touchdown catch early in the game against Horn Lake on Oct. 12. He came back in the game, but did not dress out against Columbus last week. Cutcliffe noted that Pegues is still day-to-day and could be a game-time decision on Friday.

Pegues has 14 touchdowns and amassed 548 yards of total offense this season for Oxford.