October 10, 2009 11:28:00 PM
WATER VALLEY -- Not even a tornado could stop the Aberdeen High School football team.
After driving through thunderstorms and just missing a tornado on the ride to Water Valley, the Bulldogs stormed past the Blue Devils 42-13 Friday night at Bobby Clark Field for their fifth consecutive victory and second consecutive Class 3A, Region 2 road win.
"We almost got hit by a tornado on the way up here," Aberdeen coach Chris Duncan said. "We tried our best to try and play on Thursday. I think it aggravated the kids a little bit that we had to come up here and play on a wet field. I guess it worked out to our advantage.
"I think we got out with no injuries, missed a tornado by a couple minutes, and the Lord took care of us.
The Bulldogs (6-2, 2-0 region) took care of the Blue Devils. Aberdeen had 508 yards on a muddy, rain-soaked field, while giving up 204. The bulk of those yards came in the second half when the game was decided.
Duncan was pleased with how his offense moved the ball, especially in the less-than-ideal conditions.
"It was good we could move the ball like that because you never know in the playoffs we might be in these same type conditions," Duncan said. "In the past we haven''t done well with that. I was impressed with that, and hopefully we can continue to do that. The only thing I''m disappointed in is finishing. We kind of let up at times after we had the game in hand. We as a ball team need to learn how to finish ballgames."
The Bulldogs allowed 28 yards in the first half and held the running back duo of Zenty Allen and D.C. Logan to 59 yards.
"I think we played great on defense in the first half. They are pretty stout at running the football and have run on everybody else," Duncan said. "I was excited about that. We have been able to do that this year at times and tonight I think we came ready to play."
No one made a bigger impact on defense than sophomore defensive end Channing Ward. Ward was constantly in the backfield, disrupting plays at the line of scrimmage and disrupting the Blue Devils'' timing.
"He''s one of those guys that come through about every 30 years," Duncan said. "He''s 6-foot-3, 230 pounds, runs a 4.65 (40-yard dash) and is an unbelievable athlete. If he keeps doing what he is supposed to do in two years I think he will be one of the top recruits in the state. He''s a great player and played well all night long."
Ward''s most impressive play of the night didn''t come at the line of scrimmage, though, but nearly 80 yards downfield. In the fourth quarter, running back Torrey Horton broke loose in the middle of the field and looked to have an easy score with no one within 10 yards of him after he passed the 50. But Ward came running out of nowhere, passed a defensive back at the 20 and tackled Horton at the 1.
"He''s better than any sophomore I''ve ever seen," Water Valley coach Brad Embry said of Ward.
Aberdeen senior quarterback Aaron Andrews was 7 of 9 for 249 yards and four touchdowns. He also rushed seven times for 77 yards and a touchdown.
"I feel everything developed well," Andrews said. "Coach (Duncan) told us if we came out and executed the right way we would come out victorious. I felt I was able to execute well since they tried to stop the run at first. I went over my reads and that helped us throw the ball."
Things looked promising for the Bulldogs on their opening drive when they marched to the Blue Devils'' 3 before fumbling at the 1. The turnover was their first of three inside the 5.
On the Bulldogs'' ensuing possession after they held Blue Devils to a three-and-out, Andrews found senior wide receiver Erik Buchanan on a 36-yard post route with 4 minutes, 39 seconds to play in the first quarter.
The Bulldogs scored on all four of their possessions in the second quarter to take a commanding 36-0 halftime lead. Andrews connected with Victor Hodges and Mario Lucas for a pair to touchdown passes from 46 and 21 yards. He also ran for a 29-yard score.
Rashad Pargo scored the first of his two touchdowns by picking up a Jamerson Love fumble at the Blue Devils'' 1 and running it in with 2:43 left to play in the half.
Pargo''s last score came on the Bulldogs'' second possession of the third quarter on a 77-yard pass from Andrews that gave the Bulldogs a 42-0 lead with 3:06 left in the third quarter.
The Blue Devils (3-4, 1-1) broke through in the fourth quarter on C.J. Jackson''s 3-yard scoring run. A 79-yard run by Horton set up a 1-yard sneak for a touchdown by quarterback Josh Johnson.
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