Thursday, November 4, 2010
Indians relinquish first-half advantage
By CLAUDE VINSON
The Byhalia Indians were still looking for that elusive district win when they rolled into North Panola last Friday night to close out the season with the Cougars.
The Indians entered the game 3-7 overall and the Cougars 0-9.
Byhalia won the toss and elected to receive. A pass to Pat Malone and an option to Andrey Collins, and the Indians were off and running. Collins turned a corner on an option off a fourth and 14 from the 27. And just like that, the Indians were up 6-0 without the PAT.
This was “senior night” and homecoming for North Panola and a pretty good crowd was braving the crisply cold night to cheer on their Cougars. But the offense of North Panola was cold and had to punt. Collins reprised his role of minutes before, this time streaking down the right sideline for a second score. This time they converted and the Indians were in control at 14-0.
Ricky Hunt took Byhalia’s kick on the fly and returned to the 24. A quick pass from Martavius Butler put them on the 7-yard line. North Panola moved to the 5. Butler missed on a quick screen but Hunt scored on a draw. They missed the kick but made the board at 14-6.
Byhalia’s offense was covered up by charging Cougars and went three and out. Devonte Norman had a bad snap which sailed past him into the end zone. He chased the ball down and punted on the run avoiding a safety. The first quarter ended after the Cougars had gained a first at the Indian 26. After the change in direction, Hunt took a handoff and zig-zagged all across the field and made it 14-12 after the try for two failed.
Teams traded possessions after both punted. Collins broke away and rushed to the 11. He then made the most of a fourth and 5. He upped the lead to eight after taking a couple of hard hits. The extra-point try failed but the Indians led 20-12 with five minutes left in the half.
The Cougars had to give up the ball and after a big penalty, the Indians scored and made it 26-12. Again, no PAT and the half ended on that score.
The Cougars came out of the intermission with a pocket full of determination. They received to start the third and grabbed a quick first on a pass to Barry Loveberry. Then Hunt bounced his way to the 5. They suffered a couple of bad penalties and then went out on a fourth and goal from the 12.
Terrico Myers got a first for Byhalia at the 47. But Loveberry beat the Indian receivers to the ball for the pick but Byhalia’s defense held, took the ball and still had it when the third expired. Markeise Rodgers came in and was taking direct snaps and the Indians were using the ground game to use the clock. Then the wheels fell off. The QB mishandled the ball and Marques Hicks claimed it for the Cougars, scooping it up and winning the 58-yard foot race for the score. The two pointer made it 26-20, Byhalia still in front.
The Indians went back to Markez Saulsberry at quarterback but kept the ground game. They lost the ball after a long run. Butler went to work immediately, sending Hunt straight up the center of the field. He got in front of all Indians and scored. He crossed the pylon again for two and sent the Cougars ahead 28-26 with 6:21 left.
The Indians had another bad snap which gave the Cougars the ball at the 4-yard line. Hunt rumbled in again and a pass play conversion made it 36-26 with four minutes left.
Byhalia took a timeout, then tried a pass play which some how ended up in the hands of Hunt. This time the little dynamo raced 60 yards for six more. No PAT, but it was enough to seal the fate of the Indians who fell 42-26.
They would end the season at 3-8 and 0-6 in Region 2-4A. The Cougars finished 1-9 and 1-5 in the district.
“We made some immature mistakes down the stretch,” said Markeith Washington, head coach at Byhalia. “The game turned in a matter of minutes.. We were prepared and in a position to win but haunted by rookie mistakes. That’s been killing us all year.”
The Indians had 367 yards rushing in the loss, led by Collins’ 229 yards on 10 carries.
“Our offensive line played well,” he said.
“We’re looking forward to our off-season work and next year. We have a lot of young guys who gained valuable experience this season. They just have to grow up.”
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