Thursday, October 5, 2006
Indians rally late for win
By CLAUDE VINSON
and BARRY BURLESON
Byhalia scored 16 points in the fourth quarter Friday night at Pontotoc and escaped with their second win of the season.
The 22-14 non-district win upped the Indians’ overall record to 2-4.
“We finally showed that we’re not the same team we once were,” said head coach Devin Rutherford, in his first season at the helm. “We can come back.
“I think it’s a combination of confidence and execution, but more confidence. Previously, if we got down, we sort of gave up, but now we know we’re still in the game.”
Byhalia took a 6-0 lead in the first quarter, thanks to a 56-yard pass play from quarterback Marcus Thomas to wide receiver Warren Taylor.
Pontotoc dominated in the second quarter, keeping the ball away from the Indians and scoring on two pass plays – one from Nick McGregor to Andrew Yeoman for 15 yards and another from McGregor to Jarvis Bolton for 20 yards. Willie Anderson added both kicks after the touchdowns.
“We had two breakdowns in coverage which can be fixed,” Rutherford said.
Byhalia picked off four passes against Pontotoc, two by Chris Hill and one each by Marquise Green and Terrion Smith.
“Our defense is playing as well as I expected when I accepted this position,” he said.
The home team led 14-6 at the half.
The third quarter was scoreless for both teams, but the Indians found their ground game working in the fourth quarter.
Junior running back Green took a handoff from Thomas and struck pay dirt from 5 yards out near the four minute mark. The quarterback called his own number and tied the game at 14 with a successful two-point conversion.
The Byhalia defense then stepped up once again, holding the Warriors and forcing a punt. The snap was a bad one, and the Indians tackled the punter for a big loss.
The offense took over and quickly cashed in the winning points. Thomas and Brandon Rayford hooked up for a big pass to the Pontotoc 8. Then Green carried from there for the touchdown with 1:20 left in the game. Thomas again kept the ball for the two-point conversion.
Byhalia wrapped up the 22-14 win when Smith picked off a pass to end any hope of a comeback for the warriors.
“It’s always better to ride back home with a win,” Rutherford said. “The kids were excited.”
The Indians (0-2 in the district) host district foe North Panola this Friday night. North Panola is 0-6, their latest loss being a 14-12 one last Friday to Independence.
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