Silliman, Centreville to continue long-standing rivalry _lowres

Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG Silliman coach T.J. Davis throws to his receivers during a summer workout.

The Silliman Institute-Centreville Academy football rivalry dates to the 1970s.

Sometimes the teams even play twice in one year — once in regular season and again in the Mississippi Association of Independent Schools playoffs. This could be one of those years.

“It’s never a game taken lightly by either side,” Silliman coach T.J. Davis said. “This is the one everyone circles on their calendars, no matter what your record is. You don’t want to lose this one.”

Davis is a native of Bluff Creek, an area near Clinton, and recalls wanting to attend the Silliman-Centreville games as a child. While Davis didn’t attend Silliman, his siblings did.

Silliman has only beaten its Mississippi rival once in the past 10 years. Davis wants to see that change at 7 p.m. Friday when his team hosts Centreville.

Davis will coach against Bill Hurst, who has 360 wins — the most in Mississippi high school history.

“He’s doing something right,” Davis said. “You can’t win that many games and be lucky. He’s a great coach, and they have a good staff over there. We’re trying to take a page out of his book and go out and get a ‘W.’ ”

Centreville (5-0), the top-ranked MAIS 2A team, averages more than 50 points per game. Third-ranked Silliman (4-1) has held opponents to an average of 12.25 points per game. Both teams are 1-0 in District 6-2A play. Centreville edged Silliman 24-21 last season.

Friday’s game, just like every year, is a key 6-2A matchup. Davis said the winner has a good chance of winning out and becoming District 6-2A champion.

Davis said Silliman is preparing for this year’s rivalry matchup like it would any other game on his team’s schedule. He’s hoping the way it plays will be a reflection of how it practiced all week.

“There’s a lot on the line, but as we prepare we try not to talk about the things we already know,” Davis said. “We try to keep it simple as possible and focus on the X’s and O’s of the game and the things we can control. That’s been our mindset and how we’ve prepared all week and that’s how we’ll hopefully play on Friday.”