Thursday, October 15, 2009
Indians outlast Lewisburg on muddy field
By CLAUDE VINSON
There were not many teams in the northern part of the state that didn’t have to contend with the rain and a muddy gridiron last Friday night.
The Indians of Byhalia, playing at home, were no different.
They were on the receiving end to get things started after a deferment from district foe Lewisburg. With Kelvin Fitzpatrick calling the shots for Byhalia, the Indians moved the ball downfield. A long pass to the right flats had the Indians with a first and goal at the 2-yard line. The Patriot defense put up a good front. Byhalia lost ground and eventually went out on downs, failing to punch it in from the 6.
The Pats could not do much except protect the football and defend against a possible safety. They had to punt from deep within their own end zone. They did get a good bounce and downed the ball at the 50. Even with the decent field position, the Indians made no advancements and had to punt. Lewisburg got a first down but that was all it got as the Byhalia defense shut them down.
After the kick, Randy Holt gave the Indians a first and then carried for 8 more, both plays coming from handoffs. The next play went for a loss just as the horn ended the first quarter 0-0.
The Indians had to punt to begin the second. The Pats connected on a fake delay and moved into Indian territory. But a holding penalty brought them back. Their quarterback, Colby Sappington, gave them a shot of adrenaline on a 22-yard keeper. At the Indian 22, they were backed up again from a bruising tackle from Deandre Sanders. On the next play, the Pats left the pigskin on the turf and it was picked up by Demetrius Miles. He was convoyed downfield by a vanguard of Indians, finally brought down at the 3. Fitzpatrick hit Tavaris Neal for the score. Devonte Norman booted the PAT. Byhalia led 7-0.
The Pats worked their way downfield to the 13, mostly on rushes by Sappington. Then Marderrick Tunstall took a handoff and broke out of the backfield on an option and scored. The Pats tried for two but failed. The score was 7-6.
After the Pats’ kick, Byhalia tried a long pass in heavy traffic and it was picked off. The Pats spent a trio of time outs trying to pick the right play. They even sent in a dry quarterback, Ryan Wammack, who tried a jump pass over center which was picked off by Reggie Richmond. Fitzpatrick called his own number and went 44 yards as the horn sounded for intermission with the score still 7-6.
The Indians kicked to the Patriots to open the third. Richmond, Jerry Sessom and Sanders blitzed the quarterback constantly and stopped many drives, forcing the Pats to punt. Byhalia went right to work with Fitzpatrick hitting Holt with a dart that went 50 yards. His next pass was picked in the end zone for a touchback.
The Indians got the ball back on a fumble recovery by Richmond. Byhalia, facing a fourth and 12, called timeout. The Indians faked a field goal attempt, instead tossing to Patrick Malone on the right flank. With good blocking he added six more. The extra-point try failed but the Indians led 13-6. The third ended moments later.
The teams traded possessions with little gains in the final quarter and then they traded fumble recoveries. The Pats picked up a crucial first down with about four minutes left. They faced a fourth and five three plays later. Their desperation pass was broken up in the end zone by Malone.
Byhalia put the icing on the cake when it received the ball. On its second play, Fitzpatrick delivered a handoff to Holt, who weaved his way through heavy traffic and a muddy, divot-littered field to run 95 yards for final score. The point-after attempt failed but the Indians came away with the 19-6 win.
Coach Markeith Washington selected Deandre Sanders as the game’s most valuable player for his consistent defensive play. Washington also said his sophomores showed up huge in this game.
“We continue to grow and learn,” he said. “Last season we could do nothing in the rain or on a muddy field. It was different this year”.
The Indians (4-4 overall and 1-2 in the district) go to Center Hill this Friday for another district game and will be back home for homecoming against Montgomery County on October 23.
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