THRASHER — For presumably the first time in school history, ‘Death Valley’ (the nickname for Thrasher’s football stadium) played host to the Daily Corinthian Game of the Week as they welcomed Alcorn Central to town.
It was the season opener for the Rebels while the Golden Bears came in 1-0 after an opening week win at Walnut.
When senior running back Charlie Staley scored from 35 yards out on the game’s first play, followed by a 2-point conversion pass from Reed Johnson to Keegan Hicks, Central led 8-0 and essentially had the game in hand from that point, taking a 54-0 win over Thrasher to move to 2-0.
The Rebs start 0-1 in what looks to be a rebuilding season under first year head coach Ross Coley, who took over the THS program after a 14-year stint as a Warren Central assistant.
Staley would add his second scoring run with 7:23 remaining in the first quarter on a 13-yard run, untouched around left end, followed by a 2-point conversion pass to Alex Moore for a 16-0 Golden Bear advantage.
Staley thought he had scored four plays earlier on an apparent 42-yard sweep but the TD was negated by a holding penalty around the 34 yard line. In the end it didn’t matter as Central had their way with Thrasher all night.
“I told our guys all week, and even when we walked out on the field tonight for warmups, that we won a game most people thought maybe we shouldn’t have won at Walnut,” said AC head coach. “We played and executed at a high level last week. The challenge tonight was to continue to play at that high level, continue to execute, this time against a team we were expected to win big against.”
Coley said he realized there would be lots of bumps in the road this season as his young and inexperienced squad learns on the run, literally. Meeks said he encouraged the first year coach after the contest, reminding him he, too, was in the same position a few years ago.
“I told Coach Coley that the last time we were at Thrasher a few years ago, they had Shawn Dalton Weatherbee and we were losing 40-0 to them. Now he is in the same place. I just reminded him that he is doing a fine job and things will get better as they continue to build and improve,” said Meeks.
The two head coaches agreed to start the running clock in the second quarter to speed up the game while decreasing the chance of injury.
Staley’s third touchdown came with 41 seconds remaining in the opening quarter. With a successful 2-point conversion pass to Hicks it was 24-0 Central.
With Thrasher finding itself backed up on it’s own one yard line on the ensuing drive Golden Bear defender Cole Harvell fell on a fumble in the end zone for a TD with 11:10 left in the first half. Scotty Quinnerly bulled his way in for the 2-point conversion run and a 32-0 lead for Central.
Bear quarterback Reed Johnson tossed a four-yard scoring pass to Hicks two minutes before intermission. Colt Fields added the 2-point run and a 40-0 halftime lead.
Riley Lambert had a touchdown run in the second half followed by a Clay Langston punt return for them Golden Bears final score.
“We did what we came to do and that was continue to execute and not make dumb mistakes like we have in the past,” Meeks continued. “Our defense played lights out and our whole team played very spirited ball.”
Alcorn Central will be on the road again next Friday as they travel to 0-2 Falkner while Thrasher will host Myrtle.
Walnut 46, Falkner 0
The Wildcats rebounded mightily from their home loss to Alcorn Central a week earlier by rolling over the Eagles 46-0 to claim the ‘Joe Bowl’ trophy once again on Thursday.
It was the third straight Joe Bowl victory for Coach John Meeks’ club, who now owns a 15-5 lead in the annual series.
Walnut was dominant from top to bottom, out-gaining Falkner 359-25 with a 20-2 advantage in first downs while holding the Eagles to zero passing yards.
Tyler Trussell led the Wildcats with 94 yards on the ground while Eli Dollar added 58 rushing yards and 13 receiving yards . Walnut quarterback Andrew Crum was 3-6 through the air for 69 yards and a score.
The ‘Cats are at Middleton next Friday.
Booneville 2, Baldwyn 0
The Booneville Blue Devils won the 2021 ‘Skunk Bowl’ by the lowest point total possible.
With 10:13 left in the third quarter, Baldwyn lined up to punt and surrendered the only points of the game when the Blue Devils tackled the Bearcat punter in the end zone.
“If you like defense, it was a good game to watch,” Booneville head coach Mike Mattox said. “(Guy Gillespie) punted well and flipped the field.
“He payed really well.”
Gillespie came within inches of hitting a 50-yard field goal that hooked left. He finished with six punts for an 41.8 yards per punt average.
Baldwyn averaged 2.5 yards per play on offense. Booneville finished with 55 total yards, 1.4 per play.
L.J. Shumpert led the Blue Devils with 38 yards on 13 carries. Shumpert finished 2-of-7 passing for 15 yards.
T.J. Brown grabbed two catches for 15 yards.
Defensively, Joey Wheelington grabbed an interception.
Booneville hosts East Union on Friday. Kickoff is set for 7 pm.
Tishomingo County 52, Belmont 37
Trailing 29-14 at halftime to Belmont, and seemingly out of the game, the Braves returned in the second half with a passion and a fight so determined that Coach Richard Russo said “This is the way we are supposed to look” as the Braves won their fourth straight ‘Battle of the Bigbee Bell’ with a 52-37 win over the Cardinals at BHS.
“We didn’t make any real schematic changes at halftime,” said Russo, “We just came out with a renewed purpose and played like we are capable of. I’m really proud of this team. This is the first senior class here at TC to go undefeated in varsity against them (Cardinals).”
Tish County had three players rush for over 100 yards as they scored on every second half possession while making life miserable for the Belmont offense.
The Braves are now at 1-1 and will begin a four-game home-stand next Friday when they host Baldwyn.