Loyd Star nips Hinds AHS; claims Region 6-2A crown
Published 6:00 am Monday, October 27, 2003
UTICA — The Loyd Star Hornets got just enough offense and aspectacular defensive effort to shackle the Hinds AHS War Dawgs andescape with a 16-14 victory and the Region 6-2A championship Fridaynight.
The Hornets held a defensive clinic in the second half of aterrific heavyweight clash by stopping the War Dawgs on 3 of 4fourth down attempts,t he last that ended with a pass breakup bysafety Derek Smith and 1:19 left in the 4th quarter to wrap the6-2A crown in red and white.
“This feels great,” explained jubilant Hornet head coach SydneyWheatley. “I give the kids all the credit. They worked so hard forthis and I am so proud of their effort.”
Wingbacks Juron Collins and Josh Townsend each scored atouchdown to lead the Hornet offense early and set up the Hornetdefense for their epic second half battle with a much improved andlightning-quick Hinds AHS team.
After an early 1st quarter fumble, the Hornets would try againand reach paydirt for the first time on a Collins 9-yard sweeparound the right side for 6 points. Quarterback/placekicker JustinWhatley’s PAT was good and the Hornets led 7-0 with 6:01 left inthe 1st quarter.
The Hornets final touchdown of the evening came early with 1:51remaining in the 1st quarter as Townsend would take a sweep left 6yards into the end zone and put the Hornets up 13-0. The WhatleyPAT was wide right and the Hornets led 13-0.
Soon after, Whatley would be forced to leave the game with ashoulder injury. The reins were handed to senior backup quarterbackDerek Smith who would manage the conservative and careful offensiveeffort the remainder of the ballgame.
Hinds AHS’s talented quarterback Austin Divinity would lead theWar Dawgs to their first score of the evening at the 5:52 mark ofthe second quarter when he plunged in from 1 yard out to cut theHinds deficit to 13-6. The Percy McGee PAT was good and the WarDawgs trailed 13-7.
No one in the house expected the next score to be as pivotal tothe outcome as it turned out to be. An injured Whatley entered thegame and nailed a 30-yard field goal from the left hash mark with55 seconds remaining in the half to extend the Hornet lead to 16-7at the intermission.
“That was huge to not know it at the time (game winner),”commented Wheatley. “It was a big kick for us.”
The second half was boredom ball for the offenses as the onlyscore was a 46-yard Divinity scamper at the 1:47 mark of the 3rdquarter to end the scoring at 16-14 after the McGee PAT wasgood.
True to form was the intensity of the Hornet defense in the 3rdand 4th quarters as time and time again they dropped Hinds AHS forlosses and had crucial 4th down stuffs at the 9:18 and 7:42 marksof the 3rd quarter and a huge stop at the 1:19 point of the 4thquarter to seal the deal.
“We play tough in big games,” commented Smith. “It feels greatto be region champs and we stepped it up tonight to make ithappen.”
Smith’s yeoman effort at the quarterback spot was just steadyenough to keep the War Dawgs at bay offensively. Townsend andCollins had a touchdown each and 89 and 41 yards rushingrespectively. Fullback Matthew Delaughter lugged out 64 yards on 13carries.
Loyd Star, ranked No. 5 in the Associated Press Little Ten Poll,did not complete a pass offensively in 4 attempts.
The War Dawgs were led by Divinity who had 2 scores on 97 yards.Tailback Albert Williams toted the mail all evening long with agame-high 24 carries for 111 yards.
Defensively, the Hornets were stellar, led bySmith’s 13 tackles. Linebacker Dewayne Britt had 11 stops whileDelaughter and end Barry Roberts contributed 9 each. LinebackerMichael Britt and lineman Justin Russell chipped in 8 stops aswell.
With the region championship trophy in hand the Hornets must nowturn up the intensity for a battle with the McLaurin Tigers at homeFriday evening with a unblemished regular season record on theline. The stars starting to line up right for an apparent clashwith Heidelberg looming down the line Nov. 7, in playoff action.Game time for McLaurin is 7:30 p.m.
The Taylorsville Tartars fell to the Seminary Bulldogs 28-21Friday evening to solidify the No.1 and No. 2 seeds in Region 7 forthe state playoffs. Region 6 is paired with Region 7 in the playoffbracketing.