Thursday, August 18, 2011
Indians focus on ball control, defense in win
By BARRY BURLESON
The picture of the 2011 Byhalia High School football team got a bit clearer Friday night.
The Indians used its new running attack and an aggressive defense to beat Rosa Fort 6-0 in a jamboree contest that featured two 20-minute quarters with a running clock.
“We just don’t want to kill ourselves on offense,” said coach Markeith Washington, referring to too many turnovers, dropped passes and penalties in last season’s wide-open offense. “Our goal is a relentless run offense, maintain the ball and control the game.”
The Indians finished 3-8 last year.
Washington saw positive signs offensively versus the Lions.
“We did a pretty good job of keeping the ball on offense and keeping it away from them,” he said. “If it would have been a regular, four-quarter game, I think our offense would have exploded. We were wearing them down. We saw it starting to work.”
Byhalia’s only scoring drive of the jamboree contest started about midway through the first period after Mondrekus Green recovered a Rosa Fort fumble at the Lions’ 32-yard line.
Andrey Collins got loose for a big gain to the 8. Later facing a fourth and goal from the 2, Terence Phinessee followed blocking up the middle for the touchdown. A try-for-two was stopped short.
The Lions’ best shot at points came early in the second quarter. The quarterback found running room and darted to the Byhalia 25. But the Indians’ defense stepped up to halt the drive. The big play came when Cameron Stewart tipped away a pass in the end zone.
“Defensively, we were very aggressive,” Coach Washington said. “The work in the weight room paid off. Our defensive backs played well against a passing team. Our young guys are buying into the systems. It’s exciting.”
He said it’s the first time Byhalia has beaten Tunica (Rosa Fort), a 4A school and former district opponent.
“Tunica has a good team,” Washington said. “That’s why we scheduled them. We wanted to get a good picture of our team by playing a 4A team.”
The Indians are moving down to 3A this year under reclassification.
“I think we will be ready for 3A football,” he said.
Byhalia kicks off the regular season this Friday night by hosting another 4A school, Tishomingo County.
“They have a new coach who has been successful, and I know they will be fundamentally sound,” Washington said.
“Our offense needs to explode. We have to pound the football for four quarters.”
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