Noxubee County improved to 2-0 on the season as they rolled over a young Philadelphia Tornado team 33-13 Friday night.
The Tigers built up a 26-0 halftime lead and it could have been more. But the Tornadoes stopped the Tigers on fourth down three times in the red zone and recovered a fumble another time.
It was a satisfying victory for the Tigers who lost a 23-22 decision to the Tornadoes last season.
“It was a good win,” said second-year coach Teddy Young who led his alma mater to the State Class 3A championship game last year. “But we played kinda bad on offense. We jumped out to 26-0 at the half but we also got in the red zone four times and didn’t convert. We have got to get better in the red zone.”
The Tigers took the opening kickoff and drove 74 yards in nine plays for a touchdown. Quarterback Chrishard Rupert connected with Antonio Fowler for a six-yard TD pass. Trevon Sledge kicked the extra point and Noxubee County led 7-0 with 9:44 remaining.
The Tigers then recovered a fumble on the kickoff on the Philadelphia 14-yard line. The Tornado defense held the Tigers, though, and forced a turnover on downs. But Philadelphia couldn’t move the ball and punted it right back. Two plays later, Bobby Shanklin ran 29 yards for a touchdown to give the Tigers a 13-0 lead (the PAT was no good).
In the second quarter, defensive lineman Travours Hatcher recovered a Tornado fumble and returned it 56 yards for a touchdown. Sledge’s kick was good and the Tigers led 20-0 with 6:56 left in the second quarter.
Shanklin scored his second touchdown of the night on 26-yard run in the second quarter. The kick was no good and the Tigers took a 26-0 lead into halftime.
Philadelphia took the second half opening kickoff and drove it 69 yards in 16 plays for a touchdown. On fourth down, quarterback Marcus Beamon connected with Ja’naylon Dupree on a nine-yard TD pass play. Connor Long kicked the extra point and to make it 26-7 with 6:18 remaining in the third quarter.
The Tigers took the ensuing kickoff and six plays later had another touchdown from Shanklin, this time on a 10-yard run. Sledge kicked the extra point and the Tigers led 33-7 with 5:08 left in the third quarter.
In the fourth quarter, the Tornadoes put together 17-play drive that covered 97 yards. Running out of the Wildcat, the Tornadoes pounded out four first downs along the way. Dedrick McWilliams scored on a two-yard run to cap off the drive. The two-point try failed and that ended the scoring for the night.
Both teams have tough opponents next week. Noxubee County (2-0) visits West Point and Philadelphia (0-2) visits Madison-Ridgeland Academy.
— Steve Swogetinsky