Thursday, October 22, 2009
Indians drop district game
By BARRY BURLESON
It was easy for coach Markeith Washington to pinpoint the difference in last Friday’s Byhalia-Center Hill football game, one which the host Mustangs dominated 35-6.
“It came down to who was strongest in the offensive and defensive lines,” said Washington, head coach of the Indians. “We were out-matched up front.”
The Mustangs galloped for 301 yards with two backs, Richard Hampton and Justin Givens, going over the 100-yard mark. Hampton had 156 and Givens 109. Center Hill improved to 5-4 overall and 3-1 in the district. Byhalia’s playoffs hopes took a huge hit as they dropped to 4-5 and 1-4.
The Indians stepped up from 3A to 4A this season, and Washington said his squad is learning it’s a big step.
“We’re better than last year, but this is 4A football now,” he said. “We have to keep working, particularly in the weight room. We have to get bigger and stronger.”
Byhalia took the opening kickoff and drove to the Mustangs’ 36-yard line but failed to convert on a fourth and 2.
Center Hill then built a 21-6 halftime lead, thanks to three touchdowns runs from Hampton. He scored on carries of 3, 10 and 3 yards.
The Indians’ lone score of the cool night came after Terrico Myers recovered a Mustang fumble.
Quarterback Kelvin Fitzpatrick completed a 53-yard pass to Tavaris Neal to move the ball inside the Center Hill 10-yard line. Randy Holt scored on a 1-yard run. The point-after attempt failed.
Coach Washington named Fitzpatrick the most valuable player in the game for the Indians.
“He did a wonderful job at the quarterback position,” Washington said.
The Mustangs received to open the second half and marched for more points. Givens scored on a 9-yard run.
Byhalia tried to answer. Fitzpatrick tossed a 44-yard pass to Pat Malone to move the ball to the Center Hill 20. But on the next play, a pass intended for Holt was tipped and intercepted.
The Indian defense stiffened, holding the Mustangs on a fourth-down try. But the Byhalia offense fumbled on the next play at its own 27.
Givens later scored on a 1-yard run. Center Hill kicked its fifth extra point of the night, and the 35-6 final was on the scoreboard at the end of the third quarter.
Both coaches made substitutions in the fourth quarter and neither offense was able to score.
The Indians step out of the district wars this Friday night as they host Montgomery County for homecoming. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.
“We’re excited about the way our team has improved from last year,” Washington said. “We’re going to work hard in practice and step it up these last two games (versus Montgomery County and North Panola).”
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