Q&A: What Oxford and Lafayette players are saying about Friday’s Crosstown Classic
I went to both Oxford and Lafayette football practices this week, sensing the mood, the vibe, the feeling on the field heading into Friday’s Crosstown Classic. The intent was to write a story about the lead-up to this week, the differences in practice and how much the game means. But these kids did a lot better job of describing it than I ever could. So instead, we’re going to share some of their quotes. Here’s what players on both teams are saying about the non-conference game that really means so much more than that.
Q: How’s the attitude, the buildup to this week compare to a standard week?
Randy Anderson, Lafayette senior athlete:“The mood is hype. Everyone’s just trying to get to that game and play. Most of these guys haven’t really been there yet. I do what I can to tell them how it is, but it’s just a tempo thing, a hype thing. They just have to get out there.”
John Meagher, Oxford senior quarterback:“It is a little different. But you don’t want to get too overhyped. As Coach (Chris) Cutcliffe has been saying to us, ‘You’re not playing for hate of another team. You’re playing for the love of everyone here.’ Of course, you always want to beat Lafayette, but you can’t over-psych yourself. You just have to come out and practice like you always practice. And I think we’ve done a pretty good job of that.”
JJ Pegues, Oxford senior tight end:“It’s not that different. We’re taking it week-by-week, even though it is Lafayette week. Crosstown Classic we have to keep the trophy here… We’re just going to do what we have to do. We’re hyped.”
Q: As the veterans of the game, what’s your advice been to some of the younger guys playing in it for the first time?
Anderson: “I talked to everyone about it yesterday. With the crosstown rivalry, everyone knows each other. It’s going to be physical and it’s going to be fun. But you have to have fun. You can’t play for yourself. You’ve got to play for the team and just have fun.”
Pegues:“I know I’ve told the other guys to stay off the social media and stay away from that stuff. Just take it like a regular game. We hang out with those Lafayette guys every day. It’s just a little friendly game, but when we’re on the field it’s all business.”
Q: Is it any different this year, being your senior season?
Meagher: “It hasn’t really hit me yet, obviously. Sometimes, I think that in six or seven months, we won’t be playing anymore. So I’m just trying to enjoy it. That’s what football is about for me, the locker room and the bus rides. I think that’s why everyone plays the game, so I’m just trying to enjoy it the best I can.”
Q: You’re the young gun, but the guy who’s never been here before playing a big role in this one. How have you grown since your first start a few weeks back till now, and what kind of advice have you been given about this game?
Tyrus Williams, Lafayette sophomore quarterback: “Things are slowing down since that Cleveland (Central) game. It’s so much better. The game’s not speeding up on me as fast as it was, but it’s still there a bit. I think we’re preparing a little differently. We haven’t really worried about anything else. This one’s going to be fun. The guys keep telling me it’ll be one of the best experiences of your life.”
Nathanael Gabler covers Ole Miss and high school sports for the Oxford Eagle. You can reach him at email@example.com with news tips, suggestions or comments. Follow @nategabler on Twitter.
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