Thursday, August 24, 2006
Byhalia hosts Lake County; Holly High visits Lafayette to open regular season Friday
By CLAUDE VINSON
Teams from Marshall County pitted their early season readiness against foes from Tate and Tunica counties last Friday in Coldwater.
The Holly High Hawks and the Byhalia Indians squared off against each other to open the evening, but not before the Coldwater Cougars made a grand entrance atop two fire trucks, perhaps symbolizing that they were expecting “a hot time in the old town tonight.”
Hawks versus Indians
Holly High had first possession. The Hawks were going without one of their high performance running backs, Marcell Johnson, who was sidelined with a knee injury.
Trayven Howell was first signal caller for the Hawks. They wasted little time in striking for a first down. But his first pass attempt was picked off by an alert Indian defender and the Hawks gave up the ball after a pair of first downs.
Marcus Thomas, who brought the Indians out in a shotgun, failed to complete the first play and went out two plays later.
But it profitted the Hawks little. Howell was sacked on two consecutive possessions by an Indian defense which just “blew” through the Holly High line. They sent the ball over after failing to convert on a third and 20.
Byhalia couldn’t advance and was stopped cold after calling a tailback slot at the 37 just as the first period ended at 0-0.
The Indians had the ball first in the second period (jamboree periods consisted of two 10-minute halves). Thomas was using quick, crisp passes which were accurate but sometimes dropped by receivers. Marquise Green was coming out of the backfield with bursts of authority. He gained one first and then picked up another on a third and lone one. Thomas then stepped up and bombed the Hawks with a 40-yarder which was called back. They had to give up the ball a play later.
The Hawks’ fortunes were not much better; they fumbled on the 30. It was grabbed by Byhalia but the Indians were stopped on a fourth and one. The ball was not in the Hawks’ grasp for long, as a miscued handoff created a fumble which was quickly covered by the Indians.
Thomas was mixing plays between runs and tosses and advanced the ball to the 20. They were threatening at the 14. But Marvin Lucas broke through for the Hawks and threw Thomas for a 5-yard loss. Chris Bridgeforth rumbled in on the next play and tagged the quarterback for a huge loss which made it third and 35.
The Hawks did get one last possession with 49 seconds left but couldn’t beat the clock.
Time ran out on their first scrimmage with the score 0-0.
Hawks vs. Rosa Fort
The Hawks went up against Rosa Fort of Tunica at 8 p.m. after the Lions had lost to the Cougars by a score of 8-0.
Jeremy Boyd started inflicting damage right away. He broke out of the backfield with a first down. On subsequent plays, despite their earlier loss, the Lions’ defense didn’t look all that soft. They challenged the Hawks’ offense at every turn.
The Holly High defense caused a fumble and Elijah Thigpen was first to the ball. Howell hit James Echols for a first down. Courtney Bowen then took a handoff, cut back to the left, picked up a good block and was finally brought down at the nine.
Boyd then took it to the 1-yard line and Howell sneaked it in from there. He came back and tossed a soft flare to tight end Shermaine Jones for the two-point conversion. The Hawks had a period-ending lead of 8-0 over the Rosa Fort Lions.
The Lions made their statement in the second period. They stuck the ball on the Hawk 25-yard line, beating all the defenders. Apparently riled up, Boyd rushed in on the next play and sacked the quarterback for an 8-yard loss. Undaunted, the QB came back and hit his wide receiver on a crossing pattern. He eluded the Holly High corner and safety for six. Their attempt at a two-point conversion failed.
The Hawks tried but couldn’t penetrate the red zone even with the help of a facemask penalty. However, their defense effectively held the Lions for little gains. The scrimmage ended with an 8-6 victory for the Hawks.
Holly High would now go back and prepare for their Friday, Aug. 25, opener on the road against the Commodores of Lafayette County.
“I was trying some kinds at some different positions, and they felt out of place,” said Clifford Brown, head coach of the Indians. “They kids played much better in the second game.
“We’re going to be fine. The defense will have to carry us until the offense catches up.”
Brown said he was pleased that the Hawks were mentioned among “sleepers” in Class 3A in the state by The Clarion-Ledger newspaper, based in Jackson.
“That’s a big step for us – to be talked about in that light,” Brown said. “It’s always a positive.”
Byhalia vs. Coldwater
The last game in the jamboree pitted the Indians against the host Cougars. Coldwater defeated the Rosa Fort Lions in their first skirmish of the night. However, the Indians took the field with a vengeful attitude.
They had first possession and Thomas made an “on the money” pass to one of his receivers, who tripped just before the ball arrived. It was picked off by Courtney Adams of the Cougars.
Their signal caller, Chris Smith, went to work and had the Coldwater team knocking hard on a fourth and one. But the Indian defense would have none of it. They stiffened and stopped them cold.
Thomas used Green on a handoff. Green galloped 46 yards that started with a sweep around left end. Zacarian Rayford picked up another 25. Although the Cougars prevented the Indians from scoring, they were giving Coldwater all it could handle. The Cougars’ Terrance Milam went over the top and sacked Thomas.
The Byhalia defense was still very much attentive and made Coldwater exhaust its last down just as the first period ended.
The Indians held the Cougars to begin the second period. Thomas went back to the air, hitting Dee Moore for a big gain. On the next play Thomas was rushed and went down hard, suffering a temporary injury.
Rayford took over under center, called anoption and pitched out to Green, who skirted the right side, slipped a half dozen would be tacklers and out ran the rest to stick it into the end zone. The extra point try failed but the Indians had the 6-0 lead.
Thomas returned and led the Indians to a second half standoff against the Cougars, good enough for the six-point victory.
The Indians who meet Lake County, Tenn., at home on Friday, Aug. 25, to open their season, appeared determined and dedicated. First year head coach, Devin Rutherford, was heard to say that he was pleased with his team’s results in this jamboree but, “We still have work to do before next Friday.”
“The jamboree was a big step forward,” Rutherford said Monday. “Of course, there is only so much you can tell by a jamboree. You can tell effort, hustle and enthusiasm, and I saw all three of those.”
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