October 13, 2009 10:07:00 AM
MACON -- The Noxubee County High School football team used its speed on defense Saturday night to post another shutout.
Noxubee County registered its third consecutive shutout, and sixth of the season, in a 30-0 victory against Amory in a Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 4A, Region 4, District 4 game.
The closest Noxubee County''s stingy defense allowed Amory to its end zone was when the Panthers reached the Tigers'' 35-yard line on the game''s final play.
"The defense played well," Noxubee County coach M.C. Miller said. "We bend a little bit at times, but the kids bounce back when they have to make a play."
Noxubee County (7-1, 2-0 district) limited Amory (1-7, 1-1) to 126 yards on the ground and 6 yards through the air, including 20 yards rushing and minus-5 yards passing in the first half.
The Tigers intercepted two passes (one each half) in the victory.
Amory coach Pat Byrd used the word "speed" to describe Noxubee County''s defense.
"They can run," Byrd said. "We made too many mistakes against a talented football team. They''re not very big on defense with their front line averaging about 195 pounds, but they can all run."
Senior cornerback Chadz Taylor intercepted Amory quarterback Forest Williams on the first possession of the gam. Senior defensive tackle Nelson Bolden had another interception in the second half.
Bolden tipped the ball at the line of scrimmage and came down with it and rumbled 43 yards for a touchdown only to have it nullified by a holding penalty.
Senior linebacker Fredeas Tate had 14 tackles and junior defensive tackle Jacoby Harris added 12 to lead the defense.
Miller credits Noxubee County''s success on defense this season to familiarity.
"We run a 5-3 defense," Miller said. "It''s been instilled in them since pee wee. They''ve played a 5-3 since the seventh grade. We teach being aggressive and running to the ball. We try to use our speed on defense."
Noxubee County even struck defensively twice on special teams.
In the second quarter the Tigers blocked a 43-yard field goal attempt by Ryan Hill and Vincent Sanders returned it for a touchdown only to have it called back by a penalty.
Then the Tigers blocked a punt that sophomore Vernon Scott returned it 44 yards for a touchdown. The score put the finishing touches on the game with 3 minutes, 18 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter.
The defense helped Noxubee County overcome offensive mistakes. The Tigers lost two fumbles and Frank Carter intercepted a pass by quarterback Vincent Sanders.
Noxubee County''s most costly turnover came when Sanders fumbled at the Amory 10 with 31 seconds remaining in the first half. The Tigers reached the 3 before losing yardage on back-to-back plays.
"We''ve got to start getting ready for the playoffs, so we''ve got to start cutting down on turnovers," Miller said.
Noxubee County struck for the first points with 6:59 left in the opening quarter when Patreon Hopkins scored on a 5-yard run and Jared Johnson threw a two-point conversion pass to Terrence Barron.
The Tigers scored again with 4:20 to go in the first quarter when Earnest Harmon scored on a 19-yard run and Kamal Chaberlain kicked the extra point.
Noxubee County scored again with 5:57 left in the third quarter when Skinner scored on a 3-yard run. Tate scored on a two-point run when he picked up a bad snap on an extra-point attempt.
Hopkins led Noxubee County with 107 yards rushing on 14 carries. Hopkins and Harmon were the only two running backs to carry the ball for the Tigers.
Johnson completed 4 of 11 passes for 79 yards with no interceptions, while Sanders completed 1 of 3 for 11 yards with an interception.
Sanders caught two passes for 43 yards and Barron caught two for 18 yards.
Lester Freeman led Amory 60 yards on eight carries, and William Ezell with 51 yards on 18 attempts. Freeman had all of his yards in the second half.
Williams completed 2 of 5 passes with two interceptions.
Noxubee County will travel to Houston on Friday, while and Amory will play host to Kosciusko.