Silliman Institute hosts its first playoff game since 2001 when it welcomes Ben’s Ford for the second consecutive week in the first round of Mississippi Association of Independent Schools playoffs at 7 p.m. Friday.
Silliman (8-2) beat Ben’s Ford (6-4) 39-7 last week, and the Wildcats have outscored their last four regular-season opponents 160-14 while shutting out two of those teams. But Silliman coach T.J. Davis said with the playoffs comes a new season, so there is no focus on win streaks or shutouts after the end of the regular season.
“It’s win or go home; everybody is undefeated,” Davis said. “The stakes are high and there’s that extra bit of pressure to perform well. No one wants their season to end.”
Davis said the team accomplished one of its season’s goals to make it to the playoffs, and winning a first-round playoff game is another goal the team hopes to accomplish. He said execution on offense, defense and special teams are the key to making it to the next round.
Although Silliman only allowed one touchdown last week, the Wildcats are focusing on fighting through Ben’s Ford’s pressure on defense and stopping Ben’s Ford’s offense, particularly its running game.
Davis said running back Eric Taylor poses a threat to Silliman.
“He’s a great running back,” Davis said. “He’s got over 1,000 yards this season. We played well against him last week, but a good running back like that is hard to keep down. So he’s going to be ready to go for a big game against us, and we have to get ready to stop him again.”
Before its loss to Silliman, Ben’s Ford won three games in row, two by seven points or less. Despite the large margin of victory against Ben’s Ford last week, and other opponents in the past four weeks, Davis said the team knows the challenge its faces during its first playoff game.
The focus is to get better in order to play deep into the postseason.
“We’re just trying to fix the things we do wrong to make them the things that we do right,” Davis said. “Football is one of those games that sometimes goes down to who makes the fewest amount of mistakes. We want to be in this hunt a long time, we don’t want to be one and done, so we know we need to fix our mistakes.”