Thursday, November 10, 2011
Indians’ playoff run halted at Booneville
By CLAUDE VINSON
The Byhalia Indians came up short in their first round playoff battle at Northeast Community College Tiger Stadium in the heart of Booneville last Friday night.
With the 21-6 loss, coach Markeith Washington’s Byhalia team ends the season at 6-6 overall.
The Indians were first over the ball to open the game but couldn’t get anything going. Their ground game wasn’t penetrating the Booneville defense.
The Blue Devils took their turn using their ground game with a 4-yard run by Xzavier Rogers putting the Blue Devils up early. The attempt to convert by kicking failed.
They had the ball back in a matter of minutes and gave the ball to Andrew Lambert, who completed a 9-yard run for six. This time they went for two and sent Rogers on a left-side sweep and into the end zone for the two-point conversion. The Blue Devils went up 14-0 with 4:25 left in the first quarter.
Byhalia began its next series from the 20-yard line after a touchback. Andrey Collins picked up a first down at the 31. Markeise Rodgers took to the air on a third-down play, launching a long pass which was incomplete.
The first quarter ended with the hosting Blue Devils still in control at 14-0. They opened the second quarter with possession but were forced out by a stiff Byhalia defense on a fourth and 10 at the 25.
The Indians took over and it was bound to happen. Collins took a handoff, broke out of the backfield around left end, got two good blocks then made the 78-yard dash ahead of the field, putting the Indians on the board although trailing by eight points. The try for two failed.
The Blue Devils were trying to iron out some ruffles in their own offense. Dylan Henley, calling signals for Booneville, missed one pass attempt and then completed a long one to the 46. They picked up another first down at the 25, but then had to yield to the Byhalia defense, going out on downs at a 4th and eight.
Meanwhile, the Indians appeared to be picking up steam. Collins gave them a first down and DeAndre Buchanan followed up with another. They turned a third consecutive first just beyond midfield with 2:30 left in the half. They incurred a pair of big penalties, resulting in a second and 23. They took a time out to set the play and preserve the clock but the horn sounded before they could add to their points. They had controlled the ball for the biggest portion of the second quarter and accounted for the only score, however, it still left them eight points behind at intermission.
Booneville received to start the second half and went three and out. The Indians followed suit, punting away from the 44.
Josh McKinney gave the Blue Devils a first down. They then used Rogers and their ground game to go to a first and goal at the 4. Rogers made a 4-yard run over left guard form the score. Their kicker, Tyler White, added the extra dagger. It was 21-6 about midway through the third.
The Indians ran into trouble on their next possession and decided to try for it on a fourth and long. They faked the punt with a fake-delay pass play which fell incomplete. Booneville took over at the 40 but the quarter expired before they got off a play.
The Indians’ defense forced a fumble and recovered it at the 33. Byhalia went for it again, this time on a fourth and 14. Buchanan heaved a beauty to Justin Washington, who went up and grabbed it out of the air between a pair of Blue Devils. Time was already at the crucial point and the Booneville defense stopped them and ran out the clock for the 15-point win.
Booneville (8-3) moves on to face East Side this week in the Class 3A state playoffs.
Coach Washington named Davion Johnson as the MVP of the game.
“We had a good run,” he said about his team’s 2011 campaign. “One of our goals for the season was to establish a running game and we did that. Our young players had a taste of what it is like to go to a playoff round. This is the second time in the history of the program that this has happened. We are certainly proud of all of our players and we have something positive to build on for next season.”
The coach also thanked parents, the school and all supporters for aiding the team this season.
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