Noxubee County defenders including (from left) Trillo Brown (33), Travorus Hatcher (94), Jordan White (52), and Chaunssey Triplett (34) team tackle Louisville quarterback Bryandrea Shumaker (9) during the fourth quarter of their football game Friday night in Macon. Photo by: Jim Lytle/Special to the Dispatch
August 23, 2019 10:47:23 PM
MACON -- Noxubee County football coach Teddy Young peered off into the distance.
Standing near his own 40-yard line during pregame warm-ups, he looked across the field as Tyrone Shorter's Louisville team went through their own routine.
Shorter has long been synonymous with Noxubee County football. In seven years at the helm, he guided the Tigers to four state championships between 2011 and 2018.
But Friday, it was Young donning the Tigers' patented red, white and blue as he downed his former boss in a downright ugly 2-0 affair.
"To me, it's a great way to start my coaching career," Young said. "A lot of people doubted us. They were ranked No. 7 in the state coming into this and our guys rose to the challenge."
The lone score of the night occurred when Louisville senior quarterback Bryandrea Shumaker mishandled a low snap around his own 15-yard line. The ball then dribbled into the front left corner of the end zone before a Wildcat fell on the ball for a safety.
Having graduated 20 seniors -- including Mississippi State wide receiver Kyziah Pruitt -- Noxubee County entered the week as heavy underdogs.
However, behind a stout defense headed by junior defensive tackle Travorus Hatcher, the Tigers stalled the Wildcats offense.
Hatcher, the cousin of NFL first round pick and former MSU standout Jeffery Simmons, looked the part of his kin as he totaled four tackles for a loss, a quarterback hurry and a fumble recovery on the night.
Shorter pointed to his play as a major cause of Louisville's three turnovers -- two fumbles and an interception.
"(Hatcher) disrupted our center all night," he said. "We knew coming in he was a good football player and he caused havoc tonight."
Hatcher voiced similar sentiments.
"I think the pressure I put on them caused all the bad snaps," he said. "They had to try and regroup."
Though the Tigers struggled offensively, linebacker-turned-quarterback Marlon Windham notched his first start under center. The former defensive standout finished the night 7-of-12 for 19 yards through the air and rushed for another 33 yards on 17 carries.
"First game, I was nervous," Windham conceded postgame.
Cognizant of his new signal-caller's greenness, Young was happy with his opening performance.
"I think the sky's the limit for him," he said. "He's our leader. We're going to go as he goes. Offense, defense, he's the leader of the team and I think he held his composure and ran the ball great."
For weeks family and friends have questioned Shorter on his return to Noxubee County. And while there's a sense of refreshment he no longer has to answer the questions regarding the matchup, plenty remain regarding his football team.
Twice in the second half the Wildcats marched deep into Tiger territory following 30-plus yard receptions by senior receiver David Haynes but could not cash in on either opportunity.
"We just made too many mistakes tonight -- it's just as simple as that." Shorter said. "We had our opportunities and didn't capitalize on them."
As the teams exchanged handshakes at the 50-yard line and Noxubee County's celebration began to envelop the field, Shorter and Young shared a quick embrace.
While emotions ran high, Shorter expressed his pride toward his former understudy and headed to his respective huddle.
"I just told him good job," he recounted. "I knew he was going to do a good job; I knew he was the guy for this job over here."
Walking off the field, Young took a moment to reflect on his former boss and as the fresh taste of victory seeped in.
"I'm still in shock because I look up to coach Shorter," he said. "He gave me a shot, gave me my first offensive coordinator job and he started my coaching career... He really fought for me to get me this job. He saw it in me and I thank him for that."
Ben Portnoy reports on Mississippi State sports for The Dispatch. Follow him on Twitter at @bportnoy15.
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