VHS heads to Dexter focused on not beating themselves

Published 11:45 pm Thursday, September 5, 2013

Varnado’s season gets under way tonight, as the Wildcats travel to Mississippi to face Dexte, with kickoff at 7:30.

VHS coach Scott Shaffett said Dexter is a rival because of its close proximity to the area.

“A lot of their ball players have gone to school here, and some of our students have gone to school there previously,” Shaffett said. “It’s a real close relationship between the students, so it’s a fun rivalry.”

Varnado is coming off a 20-6 jamboree loss to Northlake Christian School. Varnado dominated time of possession in the 12-minute first half but found themselves down 14-6 at the half, giving up a fumble return for a touchdown and a punt return for a score.

Shaffett said the key to this week is not beating themselves.

“I think it’s more or less us not beating ourselves,” Shaffett said. “I feel if we come to play each week, we have a chance in the ball game. I am not going to say it’s a guaranteed win because they never are, but I think that everybody we play, if we show up to play, it’s going to be a good competition.”

Sophomore quarterback Delrick Abrams threw for 69 yards last week and ran for 28 more, including a touchdown. Varnado spread the ball around, as five players had rushing attempts.

Defensively, the Wildcats allowed just one score, which occurred with 23 seconds left in the game.

Dexter is a Class 1A school in Mississippi. The Bulldogs began their season last week with a 40-8 loss to Class 3A West Marion.

Last year, the team made the playoffs but lost in the first round.

Coach Randy Sumrall, in his 21st season with the Bulldogs, said he saw Varnado in the jamboree and then on film.

“They’re a well-coached team,” Sumrall said. “They’re going to come after Dexter. Some of our players are friends with their players, so it’s kind of a rivalry. We’re expecting a big crowd.”

Dexter runs a spread offense with senior Clifford Fernandez at quarterback.

“He’s capable of throwing short and long, so he’s a well-rounded quarterback,” Sumrall said. “He’s about 6-foot-5.”

With a limited roster of just 21 players, many have to go both ways, including Fernandez, who also punts, kicks and plays linebacker.

Dexter has several running backs with Jermaine Pittman, Dabben McGowan, Ladarius Briggs and Markus Mark carrying the ball.

The receiving corps consists of Pittman, Kynan Hutchinson and Kendarius Lenoir. Sumrall said he also rotates some of the running backs in at receiver.

Dexter is multiple on defense.

The coach said his top defenders are linebackers Fernandez, Pittman, Briggs, defensive ends Dabben McGowan and defensive lineman DeAnthony McGowan.