Silliman readies to face Indianola Academy for state title _lowres

Advocate staff photo by STACY GILL -- Silliman Institute football coach, T.J. Davis

JACKSON, Miss. — Don’t call it a David versus Goliath matchup.

But it is pretty close to it when Silliman Institute plays Indianola Academy for the MAIS Academy AAA state championship at Millsaps College’s Harper Davis Field on Thursday night at 6 p.m.

The Wildcats (12-1) are back in the state title game for the first time since 2001, the last time the school hoisted the championship trophy.

The two teams were among the ones represented at the state championship news conference Monday at the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame.

“Our guys have just bought into the system,” Silliman coach T.J. Davis said. “We struggled kind of early, but the kids are buying into the game plan — going out and executing and doing what we ask them to do.”

The Wildcats will definitely going to have to that when they face the Colonels, who come into the game with 13-0 record.

Indianola Academy has won by three touchdowns or more in every game this season except for one. That was in Week 2, when the Colonels beat Pillow Academy 27-24.

But on paper, both teams come in very even.

Silliman is averaging 32 points per game offensively, while Indianola is averaging 38.6. Defensively, the Wildcats only give up 9.3 points per game, while the Colonels give up 12.2.

“They (Indianola) have been the juggernaut of our class this year because they’ve been blowing out everybody they play,” Davis said. “We are just going to try to give them a game. They got the makings of a great team in every position on the field.”

Neither team had updated individual stats.

Silliman is led by senior quarterback Zach Kelly and senior linebacker Will Douglas.

“We’ve had some rough finishes the last two years, so this year as a team we found a new love for the game, and that’s coming together as a family,” Kelly said. “I can’t tell you how proud we are as a team to make it this far. We are the underdogs coming in no doubt, so hopefully we can go out and execute and pull off a upset in the state championship game.”

Indianola Academy is led by do-it-all quarterback Taylor Roberson and running back Sherman Timbs.

“If we want to be successful we have to play our best ball game of the year,” Indianola Academy coach Tommy Nester said. “We’ve been balanced on offense and solid on defense. So hopefully all that will come through on Thursday night.”

The Colonels are seeking their first state title since 1976.