By Austin Bishop
The Choctaw Plaindealer
While the MHSAA Class 1A High School Football Playoffs don’t officially begin until Nov. 15, they may as well begin this Friday night for the French Camp Academy Panthers.
FCA, which played for the MHSAA Class 1A State Championship in 2012, must win at Sebastopol on Friday night in order to make the playoffs this season.
“If we win we will be third and if we lose we are out, it’s as simple as that,” said FCA head coach Nathan Wright. If Sebastopol wins, then the Bobcats will qualify for the playoffs.
Three of the four teams that will make it to the playoffs out of Region 3-1A have already been decided with Noxapater, Pelahatchie and Nanih Waiya earning spots.
French Camp played one of its most complete games on Friday night, posting a convincing 54-6 win over Nanih Waiya, which had beaten league-leading Noxapater 20-14 the week before.
“It was one of the first times this year we have had everybody out on the field at the same time,” Wright said. “We had a vision before the season began of what our team would look like and on Friday nights that’s not what we were getting.”
After the two teams swapped touchdowns early, the Panthers then ran off 47 unanswered points to improve to 6-5 overall and 5-2 in league play. FCA’s league losses have come to Noxapater (20-13) and Pelahatchie (50-21), the two teams at the top of the region race.
Michael Erving, who rushed for 127 yards on seven carries for the Panthers, put FCA on the scoreboard first with a 23-yard touchdown run, only to have Nanih Waiya respond with a 60-yard touchdown run to cut it to 7-6. A 41-yard scoring run and the extra point kick by Sam Gould gave the winners a 14-6 lead at the end of the first quarter.
French Camp picked up second-quarter touchdowns on a 25-yard run by Erving and a 6-yard run by Jesse Hosket to go up 27-6 at the break.
Hosket had a big third quarter, scoring on a 3-yard run and tossing touchdown passes of 65 yards to Erving and 56 yards to Corrie Witt. French Camp’s fourth-quarter touchdown came on a 10-yared run by Sam Howard.
Box rushed for 101 yards on 14 carries, while Hosket had nine carries for 49 yards and hit on 7-of-9 passes for 193 yards. Erving led FCA in receiving with three catches for 82 yards
Hoskett led the defense with 14 tackles, while Douglas Hughes had nine tackles, Nyang Wek eight and Cortez Johnson and Jevante McAdory seven each. Cole Henson and Erving each had five tackles, while Erving also had an interception.