• 64°

Loyd Star Hornets wallop Wesson

The Loyd Star Hornets (6-0, 1-0) were all smiles Friday eveningas they began Region 6-2A play in spectacular fashion by thrashingthe defending region champion Wesson Cobras (3-3, 0-1) 40-11 athome in front of a capacity crowd at William E. “Sambo” SmithField.

The lightning strike offense of Loyd Star shredded the Wessondefense for 416 yards rushing and 143 yards passing while theHornet defense only gave up 228 yards to the Cobras.

“This was a big one,” exclaimed Hornet head coach SydneyWheatley. “Even though it was Wesson-Loyd Star, we still wanted toget that first region win.”

The one-two punch of Hornet wingbacks Juron Collins and JoshTownsend accounted for 410 yards combined in a night filled withbig plays from the offensive side of the ball. Collins and Townsendwere the story for the Hornets as they churned out huge chunks ofyardage all evening. Collins had 13 carries for 162 yards and ascore while Townsend had 8 carries for 155 yards, 3 scores, and 78yards receiving.

The night began quickly for the Hornets at the 11:00 mark of thefirst quarter when Townsend took the sweep pitch around the leftend and raced 70 yards to the endzone for the first Hornet score.Quarterback/placekicker Justin Whatley booted the PAT and theHornets had the early 7-0 lead.

The Cobras offense sputtered in the first quarter and after aWesson punt, the Hornets used little time again in striking back atthe Cobras. However, the Wesson defense was able to stop the Hornetattack with an interception by safety Brad Brister at the Hornet 7yard line. This came after another Townsend touchdown was calledback due to offensive holding.

The Cobra offense again punted and on the third Hornetpossession of the game Loyd Star struck gold again. This timeWhatley connected with Townsend who had gotten behind thecornerback on a 62-yard pass play at the 1:02 mark of the 1stquarter. Whatley’s PAT was good and the Hornets led 14-0.

The second quarter was a battle of field position as the Cobrasmaneuvered into scoring position and capitalized onQuarterback/placekicker Nick Gunter’s 41-yard field goal with 5:54left before half.

The Hornets answered quickly as Whatley once again went to theair and found a wide open tight end Josh Reed for a score. Whatleynailed the PAT and the Hornets led 21-3 with 3:41 left in thehalf.

The sequence of plays before halftime was unbelievable. Hornetsafety Derrick Smith intercepted a Gunter pass inside the 20 yardline of the Cobras to escape another Wesson threat with 0:16seconds remaining. Then fullback Matthew Delaughter rumbled 38yards to the Cobra 48 with 0:05 seconds remaining. The Hornets useda timeout to plan the next play. Townsend went deep and the Whatleypass was underthrown and intercepted by Wesson cornerback JohnnyButler who raced toward the endzone with nothing but grass betweenhim and the goal line

Disaster was averted however when Whatley hawked Butler down onan angle inside the 5 yard line to save the big score before half.The game was 21-3 Hornets at the break.

The third quarter was a treat for the fans of both schools asthe drama mounted quickly.

The Cobras found paydirt on 4th-and-goal from the 1-yard line asGunter took the keeper to cut the lead to 21-9. Gunter would takethe option keep and race into the endzone for the two pointconversion to make the score 21-11 with 5:56 left in the 3rdquarter.

The next sequence of events served justice for this intenserivalry. Linebacker Ladelle Jackson would pounce on a fumble forthe Cobras to take possession and possibly cut into the 10-pointlead at the 5:00 mark of the 3rd.

The Cobras moved the ball only to get it wrestled from tailbackBrian Channell’s hands by safety William Hill at the 4:07 mark ofthe period. The controversy was that apparently the whistle hadblown prior to the strip. Nonetheless, the Hornets were back inbusiness.

On the very next play, Delaughter lost the football right backto the Cobras when Butler pounced on it at the Cobra 25 yard line.The Cobras would drive until once again the pigskin was placed onthe ground by the Cobras and recovered again by Hill with 2:22remaining in the third to cap off a crazy 3rd period.

The Hornets would scratch again prior to the start of the 4thwith Townsend taking the 16-yard counter play to the endzone forhis third TD of the evening and a 27-11 lead. Whatley booted thePAT with 0:04 seconds remaining in the third to move the score to28-11.

The 4th quarter was insurance for the Hornets as theycapitalized on a 47-yard Collins run with 9:40 left in the game anda 1-yard plunge from Delaughter with 1:52 left.

Two 2-point conversion tries by the Hornets in the 4th periodfailed as they continued to try to mount points against the Cobradefense.

Besides Townsend and Collins rushing, Delaughter had 91 yards on10 carries and a score. Whatley was 6 of 8 passing for 143 yardsand a TD toss.

The Cobras were led by Jackson who had 17 carries for 69 yards.Gunter rushed for 25 yards and a score while completing 6 of 19passing for 94 yards. He also caught one ball for 18 yards. Butlerhad 3 catches for 46 yards.

Defensively, the Hornets employed a “bend butdon’t break” mentality for the evening. They were led bylinebackers Delaughter and Michael Britt who each recorded 14stops. William Hill had 11 stops and two fumble recoveries. JoshReed and Duane Britt netted 11 tackles each. Derrick Smith had aninterception.

“I just want to thank God for the opportunity to work hard,”commented an exhausted Delaughter. “This was our big rival and wewanted to play as hard as we could.”

The Cobras were led defensively by Jackson and lineman TuffyThompson with 6 tackles each. Willie Sinclair and Herman Johnsoneach contributed 5 stops. Blake Brister, Brad Brister, Jackson, andButler each recovered fumbles. Brad Brister and Butler had aninterception each.

“We had an opportunity to make it a game and didn’t takeadvantage of it,” explained Cobra head coach Ronald Greer. “Takenothing away from them. They wanted it more and played harder. Wehave to come back Monday and go to work.”

Both teams get into the thick of division play this week as theCobras entertain McLaurin on Thursday at 7 p.m. in Co-Lin’s StoneStadium. The game time was pushed up due to testing.

The Hornets hit the road to face Saint Andrew’s. Game time is7:30 Friday.