September 12, 2010 9:31:00 AM
David Miller -
MACON -- The Noxubee County High School football team made a game-lasting statement against Greenville Weston on its first four plays Friday night en route to a 38-6 win.
Of the Tigers'' first four plays, three came in different phases and provided the injury-stricken team instant momentum. Noxubee County quarterback Deangelo Ballard connected with Terrence Barron on a 65-yard touchdown pass for the opening score. Rodrigues Brown then delivered a vicious hit and forced a fumble on the ensuing kickoff. The Tigers capitalized on the recovered fumble on Greenville Weston''s first offensive possession, which led to a 13-0 Noxubee County lead just two minutes into the game.
"We told them from the start we were going to set the tone on special teams," Noxubee County coach Tyrone Shorter said. "We''re striving to get better on special teams because we''ve been breaking down in that area. We wanted to start off fast. The big hits got us going early."
Despite having seven players unavailable through injury, Noxubee County (4-0) was more aggressive than Greenville Weston (2-2) on both sides of the ball. The Tigers forced four fumbles and an interception to go with 213 rushing yards on 28 carries.
Noxubee County scored four touchdowns in the first quarter, including rushing scores of 68 and 34 yards by running back Ladarrell Hunt. The junior led all rushers with 130 yards on nine carries.
The Tigers'' big-play capability was evident in five of their touchdowns, all of which came on one-play drives. Backup quarterback Jared Johnson added a pair of 36-yard touchdown passes to Barron and Daquarrius Mallard in the fourth quarter.
Concerned about Noxubee County''s big-play ability, Greenville Weston left open multiple running lanes, Mallard said.
"They were bailing on the pass and did it too much," Mallard said. "I don''t think they really respected the run. We ran the ball very good, and when they started respecting the run we opened up the pass again."
As explosive as the Tigers looked, they endured offensive lapses in the second and third quarters.
The Hornets'' ability to sustain offense played a part, as did six Noxubee County penalties and three Greenville Weston sacks that stalled drives.
The win, though satisfying, wasn''t as joyous as it could have been, Shorter said. The first-year head coach has challenged his team to finish opponents after it has established a lead and a physical tone.
"We were up 25-0 and the guys relaxed," Shorter said. "That''s when injuries and losses happen. Let''s pound it. When the second group gets in, keep it going. We won''t be as fortunate in the future if we let up and don''t keep the same effort and intensity."
Greenville Weston scored its touchdown on an 83-yard kickoff return by Donnel Corbin.
Hornets running back Donald Jackson had 63 rushing yards on 23 carries, splitting time at running back and quarterback for starter Jimmy Goodman, who was 5 of 20 for 70 yards and an interception.
Noxubee County is without fullback/linebacker Antonio Ryland and senior offensive lineman Tommy Lane, both of whom are sidelined due to season-ending anterior cruciate ligament surgery. Defensive back Dennis Brooks is also out for the season after having ankle surgery.
Shorter said the injuries are unfortunate for the players and the team, but after playing four straight Class 6A teams to start the season he is pleased to be undefeated entering next week''s road game against West Point.
"We''ve just got to put the next best guy in the game and keep going," Shorter said. "We hope to get some other guys back from injury next week. West Point is number two in the state. It''s going to be a physical ball game."