Friday night’s scheduled game between Cleveland Central and Rosa Fort in Tunica was canceled due to weather concerns.
CCHS received word from officials at Rosa Fort High School early Friday. The game will not be made up and it will go down as a win for Cleveland Central due to forfeit. The win was Cleveland Central’s first of the year as the team is now 1-3. Rosa Fort fell to 1-3.
Cleveland Central head football coach Ricky Smither said the team would have loved to play to Friday night.
“We were really disappointed,” Smither said. “We’re playing a bunch of young guys. Every chance we get on the field and play people only helps us out. The kids were really disappointed but it was out of our hands. There wasn’t much we could do.”
This is the second year for Cleveland Central High School football. Friday night’s forfeit marked the first time the Wolves have had a week off during the regular season. Last year, the Wolves played 13 straight weeks, 12 regular season games and one playoff game, with no open dates. The Wolves will return to the gridiron Friday against Clarksdale in Cleveland.
Smither said having the week off will give their guys a chance to rest and heal.
“Any time you can get more than seven days off, it gives your guys a time to heal,” Smither said. “We had a couple of guys that were banged up. It’s going to help them get into better care.”
Smither said the biggest thing the coaching staff is working on is substitutions.
“Things we need to improve on is substituting and getting people on and off the field and not making as many mistakes as we’ve been making,” Smither said. “But, when you’re playing those young guys, you’re going to make those mistakes. Each week, we’re getting another day to spend with those guys and coaching them. I expect us to be able to handle the substitutions. We’ve got some things we need to improve on but the rest of the things is just experience.”
Last year, the Wolves played in several close ball games as seven of the 13 games were decided by 15 points or less. Out of those seven games, five were decided by a margin of nine points or less. The Wolves won just three games by more than 20 points.
Smither said the close games made it tough to put in younger players.
“We were right there in the middle of every one of those games that could have went either way, and we were lucky to pull them out,” Smither said. “One of the reasons we pulled it out is because we had so many seniors. We didn’t make as many mistakes as most teams made. If we would have blown people out more, they would have got on the field more but it just didn’t happen.
“Now, we’re taking our lumps, and we’re getting those snaps now. Those kids are growing. Unfortunately, the win-loss column is not where you want it to be but it will get there.”
Friday’s game upcoming game against Clarksdale will be the final non-region game of the season for the Wolves as they will begin play in Region 2-5A on Sept. 21 against Callaway.
“There are two parts to every season,” Smither said. “There’s always preseason and then there’s the district. That part (the district) is really coming up on us. We’ve got one more week to really find our identity on both offense and defense.
“I think we’ve figured out that we’re not the team that can just sit back in the pocket and throw it around. As a coaching staff, we’re learning how to get certain people in certain situations and insert them here and insert them there. We’re having (players) to play both sides of the ball. Last year, we didn’t. These past games that we’ve played are really bringing us to a point now where we’re going to find out exactly what we can do as coaches and get these kids in the right places.”