Before St. Vincent football coach Tim Schumer and his players even step on the field Friday night, they know they will have an uphill climb when it comes to their Class 1 district semifinal opponent, Hayti.
Although this brand of Indians should be a familiar one.
Hayti ended St. Vincent’s season one year ago at this same juncture of the year, and Schumer knows to beat Hayti, his Indians will have to play their best game.
“They are very athletic and very talented,” Schumer said. “They have beaten some very good teams. We have to make sure that we can stay focused on the job at hand and contain their speed.”
Hayti (9-1) may be the defending state champions in Class 1, but they are without their star running back Ivory Winters, who is now playing football at Southeast Missouri State. Winters rushed for 290 yards and scored nine touchdowns against St. Vincent last season. Although he is gone the Indians will have to contend with Hayti’s most prolific player this season in Adrian Stevenson.
“He doesn’t play every down on offense,” Schumer said. “They bring him in during short yardage situations and in crunch time. They save him for defense and he is a very good defensive player, so we have to know where he is on defense at all times.”
Hayti beat Chaffee 64-0 in their opening round game and had plenty of players touch the ball and do damage last week. Leading the offense for the Hayti Indians were Trevontae Stephenson, 1 carry for 61 yards, TD; 2 receptions for 70 yards, TD, Stevenson, 2 carries for 60 yards, 2 TDs, and another three players who recorded at least one score. Because of this vaunted offensive attack from Hayti, Schumer knows they will have to keep Hayti off the field as much as possible.
“You definitely want to control the ball as much as possible, and not be as high paced as we have in the past,” Schumer said. “We have to slow it down and give our defense as much time on the sidelines as possible. Then when the opportunity is there to make sure we capitalize on chunk plays and score.”
St. Vincent defeated six seeded Portageville 48-22 last week, with two of the touchdowns coming late in regulation. Schumer believes his team is playing its best football of the season to this point.
“I think we have done a good job of making sure we are getting better each week,” Schumer said. “Our only loss in the last eight weeks or so has been St. Pius and that served as a wake-up call for us, that we still have to work hard.”
However it turns out, Schumer and his team is going into the game with as much confidence as possible.
“We have to because if not, that’s when you lose,” Schumer said. “We are a different team and so are they, we just have to execute on all three phases and go aout and makes plays. Whatever happens, will happen.”