Pillow Academy football

Pillow Academy quarterback Christian Belk, middle, drops back to pass during last week’s 42-12 win at Magnolia Heights. The Mustangs host Bayou Academy on Friday night in their regular-season finale.

Pillow Academy isn’t ready to say goodbye to Bill Davis Field just yet. Not since the Mustangs have won 12 of the past 13 games played on their home turf headed into Friday’s regular-season finale against Bayou Academy.

“We don’t want this to be our last home football game of the year,” Pillow head coach Tripp McCarty said. “The way we have it figured, if we win, we will be back home next week for sure. We sure like playing here. There’s just something special about this place.”

Pillow (7-3) is playing for home-field advantage in the first round of the playoffs, but the visiting Colts are fighting for a postseason berth. The high-stakes atmosphere will be a far cry from when the District 1-5A foes met in the preseason for a scrimmage.

“It was a very, very competitive scrimmage,” McCarty said. “I remember leaving that scrimmage thinking, ‘Man, this is going to be a pretty good football game by the time we get to Week 10.’

“I’m just curious to see how much we’ve improved since then,” McCarty added. “I’m sure they are, too. That’s where you truly get to see how much you’ve improved, when you see somebody again from preseason.”

Bayou (3-6) shares similarities with the Mustangs, which is no surprise considering McCarty both played for and coached with Colts head coach Flip Godfrey at Canton Academy.

“They’re similar to us: They’re not a one-man show,” McCarty said. "The ball will go to several different people. They have a good run game, the quarterback does a good job of spinning the football and they got some receivers who can go make some plays. So they’re pretty complete offensively, there’s not a lot of holes.”

Pillow will be looking to build off a 42-12 road win at Magnolia Heights, a nearly mistake-free performance featuring just one offensive snap that went for negative yardage.

“That’s what we’ve been searching for all year,” McCarty said. “As much as I’d love to have it Week 1, I love that it’s Week 9. We’re hot and crisp. And we’re a healthy football team.”

Looking ahead to the playoffs, the Mustangs might be headed toward a second-round rematch with defending champion Heritage Academy, which eliminated them from the playoffs last year and handed them a rare home loss this season.

“We always want to try to right a wrong,” McCarty said. “We feel like we didn’t play well that night, we feel like we’re in a better spot than we were then. If they beat you in the regular season and you’re competitive at all, you want another shot.”

Contact Riley Overend at 581-7237 or roverend@gwcommonwealth.com. Follow @OverendOut on Twitter.

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