Thursday, May 26, 2011
Indians stun Pharoahs
By CLAUDE VINSON
The Byhalia Indians closed out their spring football trials Friday with a trip to the land of the ships which never sail to take part in a gridiron “Spring Fling.”
It was the first ever hosted by Tunica’s Rosa Fort High School.
There were four teams taking part, the host Lions, Hillcrest of Memphis, Tenn., Byhalia and Raleigh-Egypt also of Memphis. The scenario was that each team would play two 12-minute quarters, with a consolation game preceding the final game between the unbeatens.
The Rosa Fort junior Lions opened up with an 8-0 win versus Hillcrest and the Lion varsity followed that with a 6-0 victory over Hillcrest.
The Indians and the Pharaohs of Raleigh-Egypt took the field at about 6:20 p.m. with Egypt being first over the ball. The Pharoahs immediately ran a sweep to the left which netted little gain. They tried to hit the middle twice more without any success. They gave up the ball and the Indians started from their own 25-yard line.
Freshman quarterback Markeise Rodgers was calling signals from the “T” and he established the ground game early with a handoff to Andrey Collins who bucked off left guard for a first down. Then Demetrius Milam crammed through heavy traffic for another first. The Indians were staying on the ground and their offensive attack was awesome as it parted the Pharaohs’ defense like the Red Sea. The Byhalia linemen were blowing the opposition off of their stance on every play.
Byhalia picked up its third consecutive first down but drew a flag for procedure violation. After the penalty mark-off, Collins cut to the outside left, after the Indian line had lain down the defense, and went in standing up. Devonte Norman also went in on his feet for the two-point conversion after the offensive line cleared the middle. The Indians went up 8-0 on their first possession.
Raleigh-Egypt didn’t get a first down until midway the second quarter but lost too much ground on the next two plays and had to send the ball over to Byhalia. The Indians wasted no time in putting the ball in Collins’ hands again. He skirted the left side again for another six. Norman again converted for a pair putting the Indians ahead 16-0.
Egypt got the ball again with the clock winding down on the second quarter. The Indians’ defense, as crushing as their offense, forced the Pharaohs to cough up the ball and it landed in the hands of big defenseman Mondrekus Green. He ran out of steam after trucking the ball 44 yards to the 35. It took three defenders to stop him. Norman, led by a massive line effort, scored again to make it 24-0 after the conversion. Egypt had about 12 seconds left to get off a play.
In the final game against the host Lions, Byhalia had the ball and was threatening when it was stripped away by Rosa Fort, which scored on a pass play to make the final score 14-8.
Head coach Markeith Washington was very proud of the Indians, who will move down a notch to Class 3A next season.
When asked how the offensive line became so formidable, he said, “Strength and weight training. We have really been utilizing our new weight room. The team is realizing how important conditioning is. We played four quarters of hard hitting football and didn’t throw a single pass. Class 3A teams had better take notice, the Indians will be attacking from the ground.”
Washington said the singular aim of the team this fall is to get to the playoffs and go to Jackson.
The Indians gained 384 yards on 33 carries. Collins rushed for 135 yards and three touchdowns. Norman ran for one TD and two double point conversions. Fullback Milan carried for 30 yards. Rodgers was the signal caller for all four quarters of play.
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