It was a long season for the Bassfield Yellowjackets. But for the seventh time in the Lance Mancuso era, the Yellowjackets are in the 2A South State Championship Game, this time against Bay Springs.
After two early season losses, however, there were some whispers and questions as to whether Bassfield was having a down season, or whether the Yellowjackets would even make it deep into the playoffs.
“I think after those two losses, there were some question as to whether or not we were down,” Mancuso said. “But what those people don’t realize is that those two teams we lost to were pretty good football teams and we wanted to challenge ourselves, and I think we did a good job of that.”
Racheem Booth, a Southern Miss commit, agreed and said ever since his team’s losses that opposing teams have slept on the Yellowjackets.
“Yeah, definitely, those two losses had every team thinking we were down,” Booth said. “We didn’t pay any attention to that though. We just put our nose down and went to work.”
And go to work the Yellowjackets did as they went on a tear and won the rest of their regular season games by at least two touchdowns. But Bassfield’s regular season finale provided even more motivation for the Yellowjackets.
Booth said a narrow, 19-12 win over Prentiss in Bassfield’s regular-season finale was the critical turning point for the Yellowjackets’ season rather than the two losses. After dominating most of their competition, the Yellowjackets were still not as respected as previous Bassfield squads.
“I think the game against Prentiss was the turning point,” Booth said. “After that game we focused a lot more in practice and we really came together as a team. After that game, we knew we had to get better.”
The Yellowjackets got better alright, as they headed into the playoffs. Beginning with a 59-13 thumping of Pelahatchie in the postseason opener, Bassfield found its groove.
After a 47-8 win over Union and a 42-13 dismantling of Taylorsville last week, Bassfield is back in the 2A South State Championship Game with the opportunity to keep its dreams of a four-peat alive.
“I think our guys did a good job of not listening to any outside voices,” Mancuso said. “We just went to work and they didn’t lose faith and hope that we were going to be there in the end. They did a good job of improving every week, from week to week.”
Bassfield travels to Bay Springs on Friday for the chance to move on to the Class 2A State Championship. Mancuso said the Bulldogs will be the toughest 2A team his squad has faced all year.
“We played some good teams early, of course, but they will definitely be the toughest 2A team we have faced,” Mancuso said. “They’re real big and physical and they’re just a well-rounded team and well-coached. We are going to have our hands full on Friday.”