Oxford ‘essentially in the playoffs now’ with backs against the wall

Published 12:23 pm Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Oxford is in a bad spot.

The Chargers (4-4, 2-3 Region 2-6A) are dangerously close to missing the playoffs for the first time since 2017, and face a difficult road ahead with games against Grenada and Madison Central remaining on their schedule.

They must win both of those games in order to clinch a fifth consecutive playoff appearance, but even that may not be enough depending on how the rest of the region shakes out.

“We know that our backs are against the wall and that we’re essentially in the playoffs now,” said head coach Chris Cutcliffe. “We’ve gotta go with that mentality right now, you know we’re in a situation where we’ve got to win out to get in so we’ve essentially started the playoffs now.”

Oxford travels to Grenada this week as they take on a scrappy Chargers team that has hung with the best in Region 2-6A all year.

Grenada (5-4, 1-4 Region 2-6A) played in close games this season against Tupelo, Madison Central and Clinton, using their staunch defense to hold opposing offenses in check while they wear down opponents with a relentless rushing attack.

“Talking about Grenada, you have to start with the defense—they’ve played outstanding defense all year. They’re one of those defenses that’s really talented at all three levels,” Cutcliffe said. “And offensively, they have a physical rushing attack… It’s going to be a really physical football game.”

Oxford defeated Grenada 19-17 last season, and has won seven straight contests against the Chargers dating back to 2012.

Cutcliffe said his team is not in a position to take any opponent lightly however, stressing that his team must take care of the little things and remain fundamentally sound in order to come away with a victory.

“Like I said, we’re in a playoff mentality now. We know where we stand—our mindset is that our backs are against the wall,” Cutcliffe said. “When you’re in a playoff mentality it really just comes down to finding a way to have one more point than they do at the end of the night. It sounds like that’s oversimplifying things but that’s the truth. You have to do whatever it takes to get that done this week.”