September 5, 2009 11:04:00 PM
QUITMAN -- All eyes were on Markese Triplett on Friday night.
Many believed the Louisville High School senior wide receiver would be the playmaker to watch against Quitman High.
Perhaps a couple of those eyes should have been watching speedy Quitman junior wideout Dyar Ealie.
Ealie scored on a 90-yard kickoff return and a 58-yard pass play and made a 9-yard, over-the-shoulder touchdown catch on fourth down to lead Quitman to a 42-25 whipping Friday night.
"He was a real good player, and we really didn''t know much about him," Louisville coach Brad Peterson said. "You really could see how good he was on the film. He was very elusive."
After Louisville had taken a 7-0 lead with 4 minutes, 2 seconds left in the first quarter on a 41-yard fumble return by Triplett, Ealie took the ensuing kickoff at the Panthers'' 10, broke down the left sideline, and the cut back to the middle just past midfield to race to the end zone untouched.
"We wanted to kick the ball away from No. 2 (DeAnthony Pickens), and that wasn''t a real good decision," Peterson said.
After the Wildcats (2-1), retook the lead at 13-8 on a 1-yard quarterback sneak by Chris Wraggs, Ealie had another big play to help Quitman answer.
Just three plays after Louisville''s score, Quitman quarterback Wesley Warren hit Ealie with a pass down the right sideline, and Ealie outran the Wildcats to put the winners back in front 14-13 with 10:16 left in the half.
Two possessions later, the Wildcats found themselves pinned deep at their 11. On first down, Quitman linebacker Adrian Moore stepped in front of a Wraggs pass and walked in for the touchdown from 14 yards out with 4:40 left in the half.
"The kickoff return killed us and the interception return killed us," Peterson said. "We didn''t play great and Quitman did. I thought they played a heck of a football game."
Although his team led 21-13 at halftime, Quitman coach John Douglass knew his team would have to score more.
"I told them at halftime, ''Guys we get the ball first, we have to score,'' " Douglass said. "If we do it''s a three-score ballgame and it changes their whole mentality.''"
Four plays into the second half, Pickens busted through a hole in the middle and raced 50 yards for a touchdown with 10:52 left in the third quarter. The kick by Carlos Davis extended the lead to 28-13.
"We always talk about the first possession of the third quarter being the deciding factor and they won that factor right there," Peterson said.
The victory helped the Panthers open a refurbished stadium, which was nothing more than a dirt plot in mid-summer, in style.
"It''s probably the biggest win we''ve had since I''ve been here," Douglass said. "I felt going into it that it was the biggest game we have played -- opening this stadium, playing one of the best 4A schools in the state, and all that goes with it."
The Wildcats didn''t go away easily. They cut it to 28-19 on a 36-yard pass from Wraggs to Jordan Christion, who made a juggling catch for the touchdown with 4:21 left in the third quarter.
Once again, Quitman responded. This time, the Panthers marched 66 yards on nine plays, with Pickens scoring on a 2-yard run with 11:56 left in the game to make it 35-19.
Quitman made it 42-19 on a 9-yard pass on fourth and goal from Warren to Dyar. Louisville added a late touchdown on Blake Cunningham''s 7-yard run.
Pickens rushed for 155 yards on 20 carries to lead Quitman, while Warren hit on 7 of 13 passes for 130 yards.
Ealie had four catches for 111 yards.
The Panthers held Louisville to just 51 rushing yards and picked off three passes.
Wraggs hit on 17 of 29 passes for 164 yards for Louisville, while Triplett had six catches for 31 yards and Christion had four catches for 73 yards.
Cunningham led Louisville rushers with 32 yards on seven carries.
Louisville will play host to Class 6A Tupelo at 7:30 p.m. Friday, while Quitman will travel to Meridian High.