Thursday, September 6, 2012
Indians lose by six to 5A Mustangs
By BARRY BURLESON
The remnants of Hurricane Isaac weren’t too nice to the Byhalia Indians.
In a game moved forward a night to try and beat the worst of the weather system, the Indians fell 13-7 to host Center Hill Thursday.
“The conditions were bad, but bottom line, in close games we have to find a way to pull out the win,” coach John Danley said.
His Class 3A Byhalia High School team dropped to 1-2 in its third game against bigger schools. The Indians committed five turnovers and also had a miscue on a punt.
“One thing about it, we can’t win like that,” said Danley, whose squad made six turnovers the week before in a 21-14 loss to Senatobia.
Danley, in his first season as head coach of the Indians, installed a brand new offense in the spring.
“The kids are still trying to get a grasp of it,” he said. “We just have to keep working.
“We knew it would be hard to run the football against Center Hill, and then when we did spring a long run, we put the football on the ground.”
The Byhalia offense had awful field position in the opening 24 minutes.
“We were backed up the whole first half,” he said.
The Mustangs’ first points came following the Indians’ botched punt.
“No doubt about it, that one was the result of a wet football,” Danley said.
Boone Frederick booted a 33-yard field goal to put Center Hill up 3-0 in the first period.
After Byhalia’s first fumble, he tried another three-pointer, this one from 38 yards out, and missed.
Early in the second quarter, the Indians were pinned deep in a hole and ended up having to punt from the back of the end zone.
Center Hill took over, first and 10 at the Indian 21, and scored in two plays. Curderion Hampton had runs of 19 and 2 yards, the latter going across the goal line. Frederick added the extra point. It was 10-0 with 10:36 to go until halftime.
A quarterback sack and a couple of penalties plagued the Indians on their next two possessions.
Byhalia’s defensive star of the game, linebacker Terence Phinisee, came up with two big tackles for loss late in the second quarter, forcing another Center Hill field-goal try. Frederick connected from 36 yards away to give the home team a 13-0 advantage at intermission.
A fired-up bunch of Indians opened the second half by marching from its own 20 into Mustang territory. They coughed up the football at the 29.
“Where we’re turning the ball over is the big thing – in scoring position,” Danley said.
A few minutes later Byhalia’s Tedric Meyers recovered a Center fumble but the Indians gave it right back at the Center Hill 23.
The BHS defense continued to shine. Once again, Phinisee made the punishing hit on a screen play, resulting in a 2-yard loss for the Mustangs and forcing a punt.
Byhalia’s offense then started clicking. Markeise Rodgers scrambled and picked up 20 yards. Then he threw a pass that was tipped by a leaping receiver, Antonio Wilson. Teammate DeAndre Buchanan caught it and raced to the Center Hill 15 – good for 45 yards.
Phinisee got the Indians on the scoreboard with a 7-yard dash to the corner of the end zone. Juan Hernandez kicked the extra point. They trailed 13-7 with 9:28 left in the contest.
The teams then swapped interceptions – Byhalia’s Timar Webster and Center Hill’s Malek Butler.
Byhalia had one last chance to rally – taking possession after another big defensive stop with 2:28 to go. But the Mustangs’ Cole Mullins intercepted a pass, and the home team ran out the clock for the six-point victory.
“We’re hanging our hats on our defense,” Coach Danley said. “That’s our strongest point. We just have to play better as a whole offensively.”
He was proud of his team for battling back in the fourth quarter.
“That showed a lot of character,” he said. “We didn’t quit. We continued to fight, despite all the obstacles we faced in the game – fumbles and penalties.”
Byhalia will meet schools more its size the next two weeks – fellow Class 3A member Holly Springs September 7 and Class 2A Coahoma County September 14.
“It’s a great opportunity for us to bounce back, but we have to hold onto the football,” Danley said.
The Indians will host the county rival Hawks this Friday. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.
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