Photo by DeMill DixonByhalia quarterback DeQuan Moore slips between three Center Hill Mustangs to pick up some yardage Friday night.
Photo by Bob Bakken/DeSoto Times-TribuneIn memory of their teammate, Dennis Mitchell (66), carrying his uniform in pre-game Friday night are Indians DeQuan Moore (far left), Antonio Gorman (40), Jeremiah Seals (12), Kenyatte Newson (58) and Makylan Pounders (56).
Photo by DeMill DixonThe Byhalia High School football field featured a tribute to Dennis Mitchell.
Photo by Bob Bakken, DeSoto Times-TribuneByhalia’s Jacoreion Crockett (1) is tripped up by a diving Center Hill player.
Indians persevere, come up short
The Byhalia Indians played with heavy hearts Friday night and did so with “great effort,” head coach John Danley said.
The Indians battled Center Hill to a tie entering the fourth quarter before dropping a 23-14 decision.
It was just a week after teammate Dennis Mitchell collapsed on the sideline in a game at Coahoma County and later died at the hospital.
“What these young men went through last week and to be able to get up and compete at the level we did Friday night, it shows a lot of pride, a lot of perseverance,” Danley said.
The game, originally scheduled for Center Hill, was moved to Byhalia at Center Hill High School’s request so it could give its support to the Byhalia community.
The Indians took a 7-0 lead in the contest with 4:53 to go in the opening quarter. Kyle Edwards reeled in a 59-yard touchdown pass from DeQuan Moore. Daniel Williams kicked the extra point.
Center Hill tied the game in the closing seconds of the first period. Justin Buckingham carried for a 4-yard touchdown, and the kick was good.
With 3:42 remaining in the second quarter, Byhalia’s Charles Powell scored on a 2-yard plunge. Williams’ kick made it 14-7 in favor of the Indians.
But the Mustangs bounced back to tie before intermission. Buckingham caught a 7-yard touchdown pass from Preston Newsom with 2 seconds to go in the first half, and the kick was successful.
“The first half we came out and played our style; we were able to move the football,” Danley said.
In the middle of the second quarter one of Byhalia’s key players on both offense and defense, Yaphat Hearn, went out with an injury.
The game stayed 14-14 until the 11:48 mark of the fourth quarter. Daverick Harden of Center Hill got loose for a 32-yard touchdown carry, and the kick was good.
Center Hill’s final points came on a safety with 4:18 remaining.
Danley said he felt it was a game his team should have won.
“I really think the long week, with everything going on, took its toll on us in the second half,” Danley said. “I think we were emotionally and physically drained.”
He said Center Hill had a great game plan.
“They were well prepared,’ Danley said. “In the second half, they did a great job of keeping the ball away from us.
“We had a mistake here and a mistake there. We have to learn from this and get better.”
The Indians (2-1) will visit Independence this Friday night. The Wildcats are 1-2, coming off a 44-12 loss to Senatobia.