Thursday, October 13, 2011
Indians rout Independence
By CLAUDE VINSON
The Byhalia Indians gave their faithful plenty to cheer about last Friday night during their homecoming game.
They also moved their district record to 1-1.
The Indians wasted little time in showing force. Markez Saulsberry scored the first touchdown and converted the extra two on the Indians’ first possession. That score held up to the end of the first quarter.
There was a penalty at the change of direction. Then Cordell Anderson, who would prove to be one of the workhorses of this game, got the call and he scored the touchdown and the two-point conversion to move the Indians to an early 16-0 lead.
After the kick, there was a red dog defensive rush by the Indians and the ball popped out, right at the feet of Kenneth Wilson. He returned it to the Wildcats’ 20. Anderson again sliced in for six and Markeise Rodgers, signal caller for the Indians, capped it with the deuce. It was 24-0.
The Wildcats took a long kick from the Indians and returned it to the 35. They picked up a first down on the next play. Byhalia’s defense was still putting up a formidable front. The Indians held – stopping the Wildcats at the 50.
The Indian offense took over and Rodgers stepped up in the pocket and hit Justin Washington for a big gain at the 6-yard line. The Indians were set back by a penalty. Rodgers then faked and sneaked around right end for a touchdown but it was called back on a holding penalty. Byhalia tried another aerial but Washington was heavily guarded by two defenders. The ball grazed his fingertips, sending Byhalia out on downs.
Both teams went here and out on successive possessions.
Byhalia put pressure on its punt and the ball jumped out of a Wildcats paws and into the hands of Jamal Danley. The big senior lumbered down to the 3-yard line. Anderson then took over and finished both the touchdown and two-pointer in short spurts, putting the Indians way out front at 32-0.
The Wildcats gave up the ball on another fumble and Byhalia got into field goal position but the kick failed. The half ended at 32-0.
Early in the third quarter, Devin Tipler broke away and outran everybody but the score was nullified on a holding call. Then on a third and 7, Terence Phinessee took the ball after a fake handoff and trotted in for the 8-yard score. Rodgers then crossed the goal line on a keeper to up Byhalia tally to 40-0.
The third ended shortly thereafter on that mark.
Head coach Markeith Washington had been using his substitutes during the entire game and they didn’t disappoint. Keenan Jones entered the game, got the call and fought his way to paydirt and a final scoring run for the Indians. There was no extra point.
Independence finally got on the board when a Wildcat eluded all the Indians and weaved his way into the end zone. The ’Cats booted the extra point for a final score of 46-7.
Coach Washington identified Rodgers as the game’s most valuable player. He also praised his defense and reserves.
“Our defense turned in the game which we knew they were capable of,” he said. “Slowly but surely they are building confidence on both sides of the ball. We are proud of the individual progress which they are showing, especially during this time of our season.”
The Indians (4-4 overall and 1-1 in the district) will travel to Winona Friday for another Region 3-3A game. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
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