Photo by Theresa Bolden Devore
Tyler Bolden (4) of Marshall Academy moves toward the end zone after a catch Friday night in the district victory over Central Holmes.

Photo by Theresa Bolden Devore
A bunch of Trojans try to bring down Marshall’s Javion Smith (21) Friday night.

Photo by Dillon Day
MA’s Davarius Harris (64) takes down a Central Holmes ball-carrier.

Patriots take district opener

The end result Friday night definitely pleased Barrett Donahoe.

His Marshall Academy football team, in its first District 1-AA game of the season, clobbered Central Holmes 62-24.

“Overall, I was pleased with our execution, and I saw a lot of good things,” said the Marshall Academy head football coach. “It was a conference game, and I thought we played hard.”

But at times, he said he did not like his Patriots’ lack of enthusiasm.

They led 21-6 at halftime and gave up a quick score in the second half as the Trojans climbed to within 9.

“In a conference game, we have to be more energized all the time,” Donahoe said. “I’m looking for intensity for four quarters.”

Following the lackluster start to the second half, MA reeled off 21 unanswered points to go up 42-12 and went on to win by 38.

“We’re glad to have the win,” he said. “Next week is a huge one (at district foe Winona Christian).”

The Patriots drove 79 yards in nine plays on their second possession of the game Friday to grab a lead they never relinquished. Javion Smith, following his linemen, did most of ground work. Eli Pearson and Tyler Bolden connected for 23 yards. Two plays later, Pearson found Bolden all alone in the end zone for a 24-yard score. Jason McDoniel added the kick.

That score stood until the first three minutes of the second quarter. On a razzle-dazzle play, Pearson lofted a deep pass for Everette Jones, who made the leaping catch for a 42-yard gain. Smith scored on a 12-yard run. McDoniel’s kick made it 14-0.

Central Holmes got on the scoreboard with 2:10 left in the first half. Wes Hudson threw to Ethan Ables for the 20-yard score. A try-for-two failed.

The Patriots quickly answered before the halftime horn, marching 70 yards in six plays. Drayton Potts had a big 30-yard run to the Trojan 18. Three plays later Pearson found Cade Crouch in the back of the end zone for the 7-yard touchdown. McDoniel’s kick upped the lead to 21-6.

Central Holmes opened the second half with a successful halfback pass, gaining 44 yards to the Patriot 5. Wykece Johnson scored on a 4-yard run with 9:59 to go in the third. The two-point attempt was not successful.

“We felt like they would try some trick plays on us, and we just had a blown coverage right there after the half,” Donahoe said. “But I thought our guys responded well after that.”

Midway through the third, the Central Holmes punter couldn’t handle a high snap. He was hit for a 13-yard loss by Mitchell Lafever and Crouch to the Trojans’ own 5.

On second and goal for the Patriots, Potts carried 1 yard up the middle for six. The extra-point try was no good. It was 27-12.

On the Trojans’ next possession, Bolden picked off a pass in stride and returned it 44 yards for a score. He also caught a pass from Pearson for the two-point conversion. MA’s lead was 35-12.

E. Jones intercepted a pass to end Central Holmes’ next possession.

Marshall couldn’t cash in the turnover, but it did add more points early in the fourth. The drive started with a 30-yard pass from Pearson to Crouch and ended with a 10-yard toss from Pearson to Bolden. It was Bolden’s third TD of the game. McDoniel’s kick made it 42-12.

The Trojans got a big play, a 70-yard touchdown pass from Nathan Taylor to Ables at the 10:19 mark of the fourth. Lafever intercepted a pass on the two-point attempt.

The Pats’ final three touchdowns of the night came on Wyle McMillen’s 7-yard run, Tanner Taylor’s 79-yard kickoff return and Layke Foster’s 11-yard burst up the middle.

The Trojans picked up another fourth-quarter score on Pacey Thompson’s 62-yard run. Davarius Harris halted the try-for-two.

“The end result was great, but we had a lot of bad in the middle,” Donahoe said.

The Patriots had 198 yards rushing. Smith’s 14 carries for 72 yards led the way. They had 191 yards passing. Pearson was 10 of 14 for 157 and three touchdowns. Bolden caught six for 60 yards.

Top tacklers were Lafever with seven and a half, Will Hanggi with six and half, Smith with six and Crouch with five.

The Patriots (4-2) visit Winona Christian (3-2) this Friday. MA beat the Stars 35-21 in last year’s Class AA state quarter-finals.

“This next game is as big as they come,” he said.

“We have to be more focused and more energized, and we have to play a complete football game.”

Holly Springs South Reporter

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Holly Springs, MS 38635
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