Hazlehurst vs. Charleston

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Associated Press

Posted on November 29, 2012 at 8:06 AM

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Hazlehurst High School running back Demetrius Cain thinks about last year's MHSAA Class 3A state championship football game every day.

"I have a video of the game and I watch it just about every day," said Cain. "I see all the mistakes we made and I need to make sure we do better on Saturday."

Here's what happened: Charleston racked up 393 rushing yards on its way to a convincing 34-8 victory over Hazlehurst.

The good news for Cain and his teammates is that they get a second shot.

Hazlehurst (15-0) plays Charleston (14-1) on Saturday at 11 a.m. at Mississippi Veterans Memorial Stadium in a rematch for the 3A title.

"They took it to us last year so we get a chance to redeem ourselves this year," Hazlehurst coach Randal Montgomery said. "We are just glad to have the opportunity to play for the state championship once again."

Montgomery has done something not many coaches have done, bring a team to Jackson in each of his first two seasons as a head coach.

"It is just a blessing, I may not make it back to a state title game in 30 years," he said. "I love it, I enjoy being around young men and trying to make them get better not only on the field but in life."

Despite Cain's penchant for reviewing last year's game, Montgomery said one way the Indians have improved this season is by forgetting about that game.

"We are a kind of a team that wants to get better every day and not reflect on the past," he said. "We have done that and it has shown on the field."

Charleston coach Tony Vance, too, knows that just because his team dominated Hazlehurst last year is no promise of a repeat Saturday.

"We don't live in the past off what happened last year," Vance said.

Cain said he'll make sure the Indians are better prepared.

"We are coming in with a chip on our shoulders," he said. "We are going to play with a different mentality and play better defense."

Cain, a 6-foot, 200-pound running back and linebacker, has been a one-man terror for the Indians. He's rushed for 1,629 yards and 18 touchdowns, caught passes for 507 yards and three more TDs, made 81 tackles and picked off four passes.

"We just need him to be himself on Saturday," Montgomery said. "He has stepped up and been a leader for us all season."

The development of quarterback Kenneth Coleman, who has thrown for 2,267 yards and 20 TDs with just five picks, has really helped.

"He was just trying to develop and get better at the position as the year progressed last year," Montgomery said. "During the summer we went to a lot of 7-on-7s and he just kept improving."

The Indians also made some changes on defense, mainly at linebacker and in the secondary.

"Charleston really exposed us on defense last year," Montgomery said. "We needed to be more athletic on defense than we were last year and we have done that."

One thing that concerns Montgomery is trying to stop Charleston's Kameron Myers. Myers has accounted for 2,461 all-purpose yards with 29 TDs.

"He is just a phenomenal football player," Montgomery said. "Defensively we've got to be disciplined and get as many hats around the ball as possible."

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Information from: The Clarion-Ledger, http://www.clarionledger.com

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