CORINTH — Brawner Cregeen passed for 171 yards and four touchdowns, Chris Rodgers rushed for 133 yards and two touchdowns and Corinth staved off a commendable passing performance by Saltillo quarterback Tyler Smith to win their season opener over the Tigers 56-28 at Warrior Stadium II, opening the Justin Dye era with a much-needed ‘W’.
“The big thing for us tonight was getting experience and we did that,” said Dye. “The guys played hard and for a first game I thought we looked and played pretty good.”
It was obvious early on to CHS fans in attendance that Dye and his staff will not abandon the wing-t offense that former coach Todd Lowery brought to the Crossroads city in 2016 … an offense that earned Corinth the schools first state championship in football.
But they will allow Cregeen to sling the ball around for big yardage.
The flip side was all the question marks that existed with the departure of so many star athletes over the past two seasons. Not many knew what to expect as the red-and-black welcomed Saltillo to town.
Little by little many of the questions were answered as Cregeen connected with Rodgers for a 34-yard touchdown pass less than two minutes in following a 45-yard run by Rodgers two plays earlier.
Eli Burciaga added the first of eight PAT’s and it was 7-0 Tribe with 10:46 remaining in the opening frame.
Drew Williams was next in the scoring parade, taking it in from 10 yards out after a blocked punt set the Warriors up at the Tigers 10 yard line. The junior dove at the three and stretched out as far as he could to touch the pylon for the TD and a 14-0 CHS lead with 5:34 left in the first.
Saltillo finally found the end zone when Smith found receiver EJ Fisk for an 18-yard scoring strike just seconds before the end of the opening period. The PAT made sliced Corinth’s lead in half at 21-7.
But back came the Warriors.
On the ensuing drive, Cregeen found Williams open around the 25 and the speedster did the rest, capping a 48-yard TD pass. Burciaga’s PAT made it 21-7.
Warrior sophomore Nick Woods intercepted Smith on the first play of the next Saltillo drive and the Tribe cashed in, scoring on a one3-yard run by Rodgers 7:22 before halftime to pump the CHS lead to 28-7.
The scoring bonanza wasn’t over yet.
Following a Tiger punt on the next series, Dye’s squad made it 35-7 on a 13-yard scoring run by Cregeen, who eluded the rush, broke two tackles and dove into the end zone in celebration.
Saltillo scored 12 seconds before intermission on a 50-yard TD pass to create a 35-14 Corinth lead at the break.
“We have several guys who can make plays,” said the CHS coach. “Guys like Cregeen and Rodgers and (Jaylon) Stackins and Broderick (Alexander). They all made plays that helped us win this game tonight. We also have a lot of guys that don’t get many practice reps that came in the second half and performed well. It was a really good team effort and I look forward to seeing what next week brings.”
Corinth allowed Saltillo to score two consecutive touchdowns in the third to cut the lead to 42-28 but two late scores by Rodgers, and another Cregeen TD pass, sealed the deal for the Warriors.
Corinth did allow Smith to pass for over 250 yards and four scores but did a good job getting to him more in the second half, causing the first-time starter to throw several rushed incompletions while being sacked three times.
The Warriors are now 1-0 and will entertain county rival Kossuth next week at Warrior Stadium II. The contest will serve as the Daily Corinthian Game of the Week.
Baldwyn 12 Kossuth 11
The Baldwyn Bearcats scored the final points is a 12-11 victory over the Kossuth Aggies on a 32-yard field goal as time expired on Friday night.
“The defense played well,” Kossuth head coach Brian Kelly said.
The Aggies led 3-2 at halftime. They turned that into an 11-2 advantage in the second half before Baldwyn rallied.
Kossuth held the Bearcats to 249 yards of total offense, but managed only 218 yards themnselves.
New Kossuth quarterback Jack Johnson finished 3-of-11 passing for 62 yards.
Brady Kelly led Kossuth with 80 yards on 15 carries. Tate Rogers finished with 73 yards on eight carries and the Aggies lone touchdown on the night.
Brady Hajek connected on a 25-yard field goal for Kossuth.
The Aggies will be at Corinth next Friday
Check the Daily Corinthian online for more game summaries.
(Joel Counce contributed to these game summaries)