Kossuth and Biggersville began the evening on Friday as the last two football teams standing in the Daily Corinthian coverage area.
The Aggies made the long trip southeast to Yazoo County to face the Panthers while the Lions enjoyed home field advantage as they hosted South Delta.
For Coach Brian Kelly’s KHS squad it was round two of the MHSAA 3A playoffs. For Coach Case Ingram’s BHS club it was round one.
Kossuth has their eyes set on what would be the school’s first trip to the state championship round while, for Biggersville, they would love to make their second straight appearance in the state title game after falling six points short in their first ever trip last December.
Both teams also realized if they lose they’re done for the season. The stakes are much higher this time of year as there is no tomorrow.
Following are summaries of the two games played Friday.
Biggersville 28, South Delta 24
In a game of two halves, the Lions rallied from a 16-8 halftime deficit, flying past the Bulldogs 28-24 on the strength of three second half Drew Rowsey touchdown passes.
By virtue of winning their first round contest at home, Biggersville is rewarded with a second round road game at No. 1 (1A) Simmons next Friday.
“It was definitely one of those back and forth type of games,” said BHS Coach Case Ingram. “I told our guys at halftime that it was gonna take 24 full minutes of physical, hard-nosed football if we wanted to walk out of here with a win and play again next week. And that’s exactly what they did.”
The Lions defense had to withstand a last minute barrage of hail-marys into the end zone to secure the victory. When the last one fell safely to the turf beneath the BHS scoreboard, Ingram, Rowsey and the rest of the Lions could wrap this win in maroon-and-white and move on to a tough round two match-up with the Blue Devils in Hollandale.”
“It’s definitely going to be a huge challenge for us,” said Ingram, speaking of next weeks opponent. “They beat us pretty good over there two years ago so we plan on traveling over and returning the favor, hopefully.”
The Bulldogs got on the scoreboard first when running back Trevon Brown crossed the goal line from 16 yards out. The two-point conversion run made it 8-0 South Delta with 8:06 remaining in the second quarter.
Biggersville evened the score just a minute before intermission when Jathan Hatch scored from five yards away. Zae Davis ran in the two-point conversion to knot the game at 8-all.
Brown put his team back ahead as time expired in the first half following a 1-yard run. Another two point conversion made it 16-8 ‘Dogs at the break.
“The composure our guys showed in the second half, and the way they backed each other up was a big thing for us and helped us rally,” Ingram added. “Drew and the passing game came to life and we played much better on defense, and for that matter we played much better on both sides of the ball.”
The Lions struck first in the second half when Rowsey found Deitrich Shugars for an 18-yard touchdown pass. The two point conversion failed leaving the score 16-14 in favor of Delta.
After a defensive stand, forcing a Bulldog punt, Biggersville caught lightning in a bottle when Rowsey fired deep to Davis in stride for an 82-yard TD strike. Again, the two-point conversion was no good but the Lions had taken their first lead with 3:07 remaining in the third.
The Bulldogs regained the lead at the 6:30 mark of the fourth period on a 31-yard touchdown pass. With the two-point conversion South Delta led 24-20.
But Biggersville wasn’t done.
With 3:06 remaining in the contest, Rowsey found his brother Dylan Rowsey for a 25-yard TD connection. The two also hooked up on the two-point conversion for the final margin of victory.
“On the last scoring drive we had two runs to set up the slant pass,” said Drew Rowsey. “Delta moved up and left the back side open.”
The Bulldogs out-gained the Lions 399-261, out-rushing BHS 349-39 as Ingrams squad had a rough night toting the pigskin. However, a potent second half passing attack did the trick.
Kossuth 27, Yazoo County 14
Jack Johnson earned Player of the Game honors, passing for 128 yards and two touchdowns to Jack Hancock while rushing for 112 yards and another score as Kossuth punched their ticket to the third round of the playoffs with a harder-than-expected 27-14 road win over Yazoo County.
The Aggies will host Amory next Friday at Larry B Mitchell Stadium.
“I’m extremely proud of the way our team responded, especially after they (Panthers) hit us in the mouth early and got that first touchdown,” said Head Coach Brian Kelly. “Our offensive and defensive line did a great job pushing the issue up front all night, especially in the second half and Jack (Johnson) had a great game. That kid is a ball player. He simply makes plays.”
Yazoo County scored on their first drive after accepting the opening kickoff, scoring on a 17-yard run. The snap on the extra point was bobbled but the Panthers quarterback, the holder, retrieved the ball and ran it in for an 8-0 lead.
Kossuth’s first two drives ended in turnovers, the first coming deep in Yazoo County territory when Kelly decided to go for it on 4th and 16. The pass into the end zone sailed over the receivers head, handing the ball back to the Panthers at the 22.
The second drive ended when Brady Kelly got knocked around, with a Yazoo County defender dislodging the ball from his hands on the Panthers end of the field.
As it turned out it didn’t cost the Aggies because the home team couldn’t take advantage of the miscue and convert it into points.
After a YC punt on the third play of the second quarter, Kossuth drove 84 yards on 16 plays, consuming over seven minutes of clock time. The drive culminated when Kelly bulled his way over from the one. Brody Hajek added the PAT and the score stood at 8-7 with 3:41 remaining before intermission.
Coach Kelly gambled on the ensuing kickoff, calling an onside kick attempt, which the Aggies recovered. With 11 seconds left in the second quarter, Kossuth cashed in with a Johnson one-yard scoring plunge. Hajek’s second PAT made it 14-8 Aggies at halftime.
Kossuth received the second half kickoff but went three and out, followed by a subsequent three and out by the Panthers.
The Aggies scored again with 9:22 remaining in the game on a 58-yard scoring pass from Johnson to Hancock. The PAT failed, but KHS had extended their lead to 20-8.
Yazoo County made it interesting with a three-yard TD run with 4:53 remaining. A failed two point conversion left the score at 20-14 Aggies.
Johnson and Hancock teamed up again for an 18-yard TD strike with 1:58 remaining in the game.
A last minute drive came up empty for the Panthers and Kossuth escaped with a 27-14 win and a date with the Panthers next Friday.
“We just kept fighting and pushing the line of scrimmage and Jack (Hancock) and I were able to hook up twice and put the game away,” said Johnson, “but our running game and our lines did a great job too as they always do.”
Kossuth out-gained Yazoo County 349-196 and won despite two turnovers.