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Bearcats trying to tidy things up for Skunk Bowl

Sep. 1—Baldwyn's football team needs to take a big step forward this week.

The Bearcats opened the season last Friday by losing 28-0 to Kossuth. Tonight, they host rival Booneville in the annual Skunk Bowl. The Blue Devils are coming off a 23-13 win against Corinth.

"You know how this game goes, who knows what to expect?" Baldwyn coach Michael Gray said. "So many times us and them both play on adrenaline and emotions, and it makes for a sloppy game."

Gray is hoping the Bearcats can eliminate the sloppy elements that plagued them last week. They committed three turnovers, missed a field goal and had trouble sustaining drives.

Dy'Lan Johnson struggled in his first career start at quarterback. A lot of that was due to the pressure brought by Kossuth.

Johnson completed 4 of 11 passes for 40 yards.

"I expect him to play a lot better," Gray said. "I expect him to get the ball out quicker. I think he held onto it a little bit too long last week, and he kind of flushed early, too, came out of (the pocket) a little bit too early."

There was some success in the run game, though. Drelin Watson rushed for 69 yards on five carries, and Terrell Robinson gained 62 yards on nine carries.

Booneville's defense had a strong outing last week. Safety Bryson Saylors led the effort with 10 tackles, while Brodson Pippins had eight.

"We'll have to do a better job of taking care of the football and protecting our quarterback and staying on our blocks to be able to move the football," Gray said. "I think we'll have an opportunity to do that, it's just a matter of getting there and seeing what they're going to do to us."

Also tonight

—No. 5 Large School Houston (1-0) visits Shannon (1-0) in a battle of Class 4A teams.

—No. 2 Large School Starkville (1-0) meets No. 3 West Point (0-1). It's the 98th meeting between the rivals.

—No. 1 Large School Tupelo (1-0) is at home to take on Southaven (0-1). These teams last met on the field in 2019.

brad.locke@journalinc.com