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|West Ouachita travels to Winnfield this week|
The West Ouachita Chiefs (1-0) turned in a gutsy performance with a 28-21 victory over Pineville last week.
The Chiefs and will now move on to a road contest against the Winnfield Tigers (1-0) this week with a 7 p.m. kickoff.
"I thought it showed a lot of heart," West Ouachita head coach Mitch Thomas said of the Pineville win. "Even when we were down, the kids never quit. They always believed we were going to win the ball game."
The district 3-4A Chiefs picked up 12 power points for the win in the playoff ranking system. West Ouachita got 10 points for the victory and an extra pair of points for playing up in classification.
West Ouachita dominated on offense most of the game, but let a seven-point halftime lead slip away to trail 21-13 with nine minutes to play.
Senior Billy Minnifield raced 53 yards for a touchdown run to get the Chiefs close and quarterback T.J. Murphy rushed in for the two-point conversion to tie the contest. On the next West Ouachita possession, the Chiefs got a huge touchdown pass from Murphy to Tyler Mims to seal the victory and a great way to begin their 2009 season.
"It was not a great pass," Mims said. "It was a mayday play. It was a play we just had to make."
The new spread passing attack of the Chiefs was a big positive step in the right direction for a program that has struggled to score points in key situations in the past.
"It is still pretty new to us," Thomas said. "We put it during the fall and the kids are still learning. They played real well tonight."
Pineville running back Derrick Milton gave the Chiefs plenty of improvement on the defensive line after gaining 203 yards and two touchdowns. The talented running back was the only Pineville player to gain positive yards on the ground Friday night.
"On defense, we need to do a better job of staying in our gaps," Thomas said. "We certainly need to improve our kicking game as well."
Winnfield, out of district 3-2A beat Jonesboro-Hodge 20-13 to also begin their season on a high note. The Tigers showed against Jonesboro-Hodge that they have great team speed and their skill athletes will challenge the Chiefs when they take to the road Friday night.