Thursday, September 22, 2011
Indians defang Panthers
By CLAUDE VINSON
Two of Marshall County’s football teams traveled to the same location last Friday to contest different foes.
The Byhalia Indians went to Coahoma County to take on the Panthers of Coahoma High School and the Holly Springs Hawks went to the same place to take on Coahoma Agricultural High School. And both came away winners.
The Coahoma County Panthers had won both their district and region last season and the head coach of the Byhalia Indians said his team had prepared for a physical confrontation.
“We faced a big, strong, physical team but I feel that we were up to the task,” coach Markeith Washington said. “For three consecutive quarters, we took the fight straight to them.”
The Indians won the toss but deferred reception until the second half. On the Panthers’ second play, the Byhalia defense made the Panthers cough up the ball. Byhalia’s offense, led by quarterback Markeise Rodgers, put the ground game into immediate operation.
Andrey Collins scored the first touchdown for Byhalia and Devonte Norman darted in for the two-point conversion.
The next six was accounted for by Norman, who also scored another deuce to send the Indians well into the lead at quarter’s end. The Panthers were held scoreless in the first period.
The Indian defense was still maintaining a solid opposition to Coahoma’s offensive schemes, completing shutting them out in the first half 32-0.
“We just have to give our defense a ton of credit,” Washington said. “Our strong safety, DeAndre Buchanan, had a great game. That is why he is our MVP this week. He really anchored the defensive effort.”
Buchanan is a junior.
Washington said the coaches agreed to a “running clock” in the second half. After the Indians went up 44-0 in the third, Byhalia started to substitute at will. However, the defense didn’t allow any scoring by the hosts and the final score was 44-0.
The Indians had 514 rushing yards and 27 yards in the air.
“We tried a play action pass which was good for 21 yards and another that netted six,” he said. “Rodgers hit Justin Washington for the long gain.”
Coach Washington reaffirmed the Indians’ commitment to the running game. Collins had 271 yards on and two touchdowns on 17 carries. Norman carried 25 times and amassed 211 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Terence Phinessee had a scoring run of 21 yards.
The Indians are 3-2 on the season and both Norman and Collins are approaching the 1,000-yard mark.
“We realize that some fans think the running game is not as exciting as the air game but we are going to continue it as long as the results are favorable,” he said. “We don’t know what type of weather we are going to have come playoff time, but we know that inclement can hamper a passing attack.”
The head coach said his coaching staff has been getting invitations to hold seminars (camps) on the operation of their ground attack.
The Indians are on the road for the next two games (at Lewisburg and Charleston) and will return home for their homecoming game against Independence on Friday, Oct. 7.
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