Cumby, Quitman battle for 17-2A supremacy
Joseph Elerson | News-Telegram Sports Writer

Oct. 1, 2004 - COMO - Two undefeated teams in the Como-Pickton Eagles and the Quitman Bulldogs will battle for early supremacy in District 17-2A play tonight at Ron Heflin Field.

The Eagles and the Bulldogs both come into the game with 5-0 overall records and 1-0 marks in district play. CPHS defeated Grand Saline 32-20, while Quitman, under coach Rick Porter, blanked Alba-Golden 54-0 last Friday night.

"Quitman is a solid team in every aspect and they have got a good offense, a good offensive line, good running backs and good receivers," C-P second-year head coach Joe Ryzman said. "On defense, they are a solid team, and they are good at every position just as they are on offense."

The Bulldogs offensive line consists of sophomore Ahmad Kelly (right tackle), juniors Trey Neighbors (left tackle), Jonathan Sanders (left guard), and seniors Zach Jackson (center) and right guard Tommy Carden. None of them started at the same position last year.

"They have a solid offensive line, but to compliment that line they have a solid backfield. He has most of those kids back on the offensive line from last year that have played in similar positions," Ryzman said.

This season, the Eagles have relied heavily on the legs of senior running back Tyrin Porter, who needs 128 yards to get 1,000 yards rushing on the season, and he is also in double figures in rushing touchdowns with 11.

Senior quarterback Josh Biggerstaff is currently a 54 percent passer for the Eagles on 27-of-50 for 488 yards and five touchdowns. He has also thrown three interceptions this season.

Quitman has the 2003 district Offensive Player of the Year in senior quarterback Chase Williams and district MVP in running back Jody Riojas (221-1,815, 19 TDs last year), and Ryzman hopes that his team can contain the speed of these two players and keep them getting to the perimeter.

"They (Williams and Riojas) are very good and basically we are going to try and stop what they do best and that is running on the outside and try to contain their speed and keep it inside and play the option," Ryzman said.

The Harris Ratings system has picked Quitman as a 20-point favorite in tonight's game, while has ranked CPHS at No. 9 in the state, and No. 3 in Region III, ahead of Quitman, who comes in at No. 18 in the state and No. 6 in the region.

Last season, the Bulldogs defeated C-P 49-0 at home and this season, Ryzman hopes his team will the same approach they have for all their games, and possibly start 2-0 in district play with Alba-Golden scheduled for next week.

"The kids are excited because they are playing Quitman. Our approach to Quitman has not been any different than any other week and we prepare just the same for our non-district opponents as we do our district opponents," Ryzman said. "Our kids are excited about the possibility of going 2-0 in district, and they are excited about playing Quitman."

Ryzman said having great fan support has played a big role in the success of the Eagles this season and additional stands have been moved in for the game Friday night.

"It is always good for the home team to have great fan support and our fans have been great this year so that will do a lot to pump our kids up," Ryzman said. "This is the best team that we have played this year up until now. So, we have got to play as perfect of a game as we possibly can. We have got to keep mistakes to a minimum, execute well and play at 100-percent for four quarters."

Note: Before halftime of tonight's game, a special presentation will be made in honor of the new scoreboard that Alliance Bank sponsored for the school mentioning the partnership between CPHS and Alliance Bank. Members of Alliance Bank will be at the game for the ceremony. This is the first week that the varsity has used the scoreboard.

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