Thursday, September 1, 2011
Indians stopped by Warriors in ground battle
By CLAUDE VINSON
The Byhalia Indians were on the road last Friday night to what some consider as the “tip of the Delta.” They engaged the Senatobia Warriors in a rough ground battle for most of the game.
Byhalia was first over the ball and moved down to the 26. Markeise Rodgers picked up a first down at the 20 but the ball was fumbled to the Warriors on the next play.
Senatobia had a scrambling quarterback (Wentavius Burdette), who took the first play to the 32 of the Indians. He called his number again and broke down the right side, out-sprinting everyone for six. The following kick was no good, but the hosts were on the board first at 6-0.
Andrey Collins fielded the kick for Byhalia and had a good return; however, a holding call brought the ball back to the 28. Devonte Norman got a first down and Collins picked up another a play later. Byhalia was stopped and went out on downs at the 26. The Warriors got off one play before the quarter ended at 6-0. Neither team had thrown a pass in the first quarter.
After the change in direction, Burdette hurled his first aerial, which fell short. The Warriors punted on a fourth and seven. Byhalia turned successive first downs and after offsetting penalties, Norman picked up solid blocking and was pulled down at the 2. The Indians scored on the next play but failed on the point-after try, tying the score 6-6.
After the Warriors had an overzealous player ejected, they benefited from a face-mask call and Burdette was still plying his trade, keeping the ball on the ground and finding his way into the end zone. Again they failed to convert and were up by six.
Collins took the kick and was brought down at the Senatobia 45. Byhalia was still playing the ground game and “smash-mouth, in-your-face” football as was its opponent. And the next play really brought it out. Facing a fourth and one, the Indians got a real break on a personal foul call which put the ball on the 8. Collins scored on a left-side sweep, which was recalled. He ran the identical play and scored again, making it 12-12 with 1:13 left in the half. The half ended with the score still tied.
After Byhalia’s botched kickoff to start the second half, Senatobia took possession at the Indian 49. Burdette was pounding the ball up the middle and had a second and goal at the 4. He scored his third TD on the ground and came back and converted for two more to put the Warriors ahead 20-12.
Later in the quarter, Burdette scored again and the Warriors’ PAT was worth two more. The score was 28-12 with 3:29 left in the third.
Byhalia had trouble with another kickoff, which gave the Warriors excellent field position. Burdette was still having his way with the Indian defense and still had possession when the quarter ended at 28-12. Burdette was injured early in the fourth and left the game not to return. It hobbled the Senatobia offense but the host team scored again and converted to make it 35-12.
Collins broke loose for a huge gain but it was moved back on a holding call. Facing a fourth and 14, Rodgers called Byhalia’s first aerial of the season, launching a perfect throw to Collins, who made a picturesque catch for the score. The Indians converted for two to make it 35-20.
Unfortunately, the defense allowed Senatobia to strike again to make it 42-20.
The Indians mixed it up in the time left and Collins crossed the goal line just as the horn sounded to make the final score 42-26.
Head coach Markeith Washington praised his Indians for their effort with the run.
“We have gained over a thousand yards on the ground thus far (in two games),” he said. “We just have to work on our defensive strategies and I think we will be well prepared when we go into division play”
The coach said Devonte Norman is rated number one among rushers in the state of Mississippi by MaxPrep. Andrey Collins is rated number four.
Next up for Byhalia (1-1) on the season will be a home game against Center Hill Friday at 7:30 p.m. Center Hill lost 23-22 to Tupelo last Friday night.
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