Thursday, October 8, 2009
Indians lose lead at Tunica
By BARRY BURLESON
It was the tale of two halves Friday night for Byhalia.
The visitors strolled into Tunica and took command of the district contest versus Rosa Fort only to see the lead slip away in the second half. The host Lions rallied for the 28-16 win over the Indians from Marshall County.
“We have to learn to finish,” said head coach Markeith Washington, whose Byhalia squad slipped to 3-4 overall and 0-3 in the district. “We did everything right in the first half, and then it was like we came out flat after halftime. We’re a young football team, and we made some mental mistakes. You get those with growing pains.”
The Lions received the opening kickoff and kept the ball for 10 minutes of the first quarter. They drove 58 yards to the Byhalia 7. But on second and goal, Jeremy Sessom caused the fumble and teammate Reggie Richmond recovered.
Byhalia, thanks to the sudden burst of momentum, went 91 yards in just four plays to take the lead. Andre Collins, taking the handoff from quarterback Dustin Smith, got loose for 27 yards on first down. Two plays later, on third and nine, Randy Holt found some open field and ran 63 yards for the score. The extra-point try was no good. The Indians were up 6-0 with 1:27 to go in the first period.
The Lions coughed up the football again on its second possession and again Richmond recovered for the Indians, this time at the Rosa Fort 41.
Labradford Rayford carried for 20 yards, and then a flag on the Lions moved the ball to the 11. Collins scored from there. The extra-point kick was no good. Byhalia led 13-0 with 11:51 left in the second quarter.
The two teams swapped punts. The Lions’ kick came from deep in their own territory after a couple of plays for loss, the latter caused by a high snap over the quarterback’s head from the shotgun formation. A short punt gave Rosa Fort possession at the Byhalia 29.
It took the home team just one play to score. Darius Guy traveled the distance on a sweep. The extra-point try failed. The Lions had cut the deficit to 13-6 with 7:21 to go in the first half.
Collins returned the ensuing kickoff 21 yards and then on first down he raced 44 yards to the Rosa Fort 13-yard line. The drive stalled inside the Rosa Fort 5. Holt kicked a 25-yard field goal with 3:33 left in the second period. Byhalia’s lead was 16-6.
The Lions scratched back before intermission, after the Indians’ onside kick was recovered near midfield. A 10-yard pass play and a 15-yard penalty on Byhalia moved Rosa Fort closer. Tyrus Melvin later got the touchdown on 3-yard run. The point-after try was no good.
Collins returned the ensuing kickoff 45 yards but Byhalia couldn’t produce more points before half. They were up 16-12 at the break.
The Lions outscored the Indians 16-0 in the secondhalf to steal the victory.
They got a touchdown in the third quarter on a 5-yard pass from Byron Scott to Bernardrick McKinney. Patrick Durr carried for the two-point conversion.
Byhalia fumbled a kickoff and threw an interception in the third quarter.
“Mistakes are killing us in the second half of games,” Washington said.
The Byhalia defense made some stout defensive stands later in the third and early in the fourth.
But the Lions secured the win on another score late in the fourth. Durr ran 44 yards for the score and also carried for the two-point conversion. The 28-16 final was on the board.
Byhalia’s Holt had a 45-yard run as time expired.
Coach Washington said his team features lots of freshmen starters, who are learning but still inexperienced, and he needs some of his older guys to step up and be leaders.
“That’s something you can’t coach,” he said. “You can’t coach a young man to be a leader.”
He remains confident in his squad.
“We can still win out and make the playoffs,” Washington said. “We’re going to keep working hard.”
The Indians host Lewisburg this Friday night in another district contest. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
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