Photo by Abby Loden/The Itawamba County TimesJeremiah Scott (5) of Potts Camp carries a few Mustangs with him as he picks up additional yards Friday night.
Cards secure first-ever playoff spot
A 98-yard, 15-play drive put Potts Camp in the state playoffs for the first time in school history.
“If you find something that works, stick with it, and we found it on that drive,” coach Darrow Anderson said.
Quarterback Josh Blake kept the ball 13 of the 15 plays as the Cardinals took their first lead of the night, 12-8, early in the fourth quarter and hung on to win by that margin at Mantachie.
Potts Camp improved to 5-3 overall and 2-0 in District 1-2A, securing the first-ever post-season berth. The Cards starting playing football 10 years ago, in 2009.
“It’s a big step for our program, as far as changing the culture of the program,” said Anderson, in his second season as head coach. “The guys are buying in and believing. We’ve come from behind the last two weeks (both district games), and that’s a testament to the mind-set of the kids. They want to win, and they’re playing to win.”
The Mustangs cashed in a Cardinal turnover to take the lead in the first quarter Friday night. Luke Ellis scored on a 4-yard run, capping a 48-yard drive. A two-point conversion made it 8-0.
Late in the second period, Potts Camp recovered a Mantachie fumble at the Mustang
24. With 1:09 left until halftime, Marquise Turnage scored on a 2-yard plunge. The conversion try failed. The Cards trailed 8-6.
The Mustangs opened the second half with a drive from their own 38 deep into Cardinal territory. But with 9:33 to go in the third, the Potts Camp defense stopped the home team 2 yards short of the goal-line on a fourth-down play.
That’s when the Cards launched their almost-lengthof-the-field drive that ate up more than nine minutes off the clock.
“We just ran the quarterback power play over and over, gaining 5 yards, 3 yards, 7 yards at a time,” Anderson said. “A lot of his (Josh Blake’s) yards were yards after contact. He carried some people with him.”
Blake capped the drive at the 11:56 mark of the fourth quarter with a 4-yard touchdown keeper. The conversion try failed. Potts Camp led by four.
“Then we just had to hold them out, and we did,” Anderson said. “We got a fourthdown stop on our 31 (with 3:24 left in the game).
“The defense played very well all night. They made some really big stops (including another on fourth down with 31 seconds left).”
Blake finished with 27 carries for 130 yards. He was two of six passing for 34 yards. Ryan Baldwin had both the receptions, one that picked up a first down on the 98-yard drive.
The Cardinals, guaranteed at least a three seed in the playoffs, will go for a higher one this Friday night when they host district foe Walnut. The Wildcats are 6-2 overall and 0-1 in the district, coming off a 42-7 loss to East Union last week.
“Walnut is a good football team,” Anderson said. “We need to come out and play a very good ball game. We need to keep it close and give ourselves a chance to win it in the fourth quarter. If we can pull it off, we could lock up a higher seed and a home game (in the first round).”
It will also be “Senior Night” Friday at Potts Camp.