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Shorter sparks Loyd Star’s win

Loyd Star senior quarterback Donald Shorter made the seasonopener Friday night a memorable one for the Hornets and first-yearhead coach Ryan Ross.

Shorter, who stands 5-foot-10 and weighs 174 pounds, completed10 of 21 passes for 160 yards to lead the Hornets in a hard fought13-12 win over the J.J. McClain Mustangs on a rain-soaked WilliamE. “Sambo” Smith Field.

But it was Shorter’s play at defensive back that secured the winfor the Hornets. With 1:06 left to play, Mustang quarterback RobertHogan let loose a Hail Mary pass near the Loyd Star 40-yard line.Shorter leaped into the air to snatch the pass and returned it deepinto McClain territory to clinch the win.

“I stayed back and I kept my eye on the quarterback, ” saidShorter following the win. “Then he threw it and I caught it. Myteammate Chris Wilson tipped it and I got it That pick sealed ourvictory.”

Shorter said he felt more at ease as the game went on.

“I got more confident as it went on,” added Shorter. “The teamrallied me on.”

With 9:12 left in the first half, the game was delayed becauseof a thunder and lightning storm for about 55 minutes. The playersand coaches went to their dressing rooms. Shorter said it helpedthem.

“We used the ime and worked on what we needed to. The guys did agood job of listening to the coaches.”

Ross was pleased with his team’s first win under adverse weatherconditions.

“Our leaders on the team stepped up,” stated Ross. “Donaldplayed exceptionally well. I was proud of the kids and the coaches.I was pleased with the effort.”

Loyd Star scored at the 8:50 mark in the first quarter. TheHornets marched 75 yards in 8 plays to set up a 1-yard run byfullback Andrew Rushing for the touchdown. Josh McCaffery kickedthe extra point and put the Hornets on top 7-0 over theMustangs.

McClain scored early in the second quarter when running backErrin Cobbins broke loose for a 3-yard TD, capping a 10-play,55-yard drive.

Following the Mustangs score, the bad weather hit and the gamewas stopped at 7:38 p.m.. The game continued at 8:31.

Loyd Star drove 62-yards in 4 plays for its second TD. Shorterconnected with wide receiver McKinley Hamilton for a 46-yard rompto the end zone. The point after attempt failed but the hostsmaintained a 13-6 edge.

McClain scored its final touchdown of the game with 1:36 left inthe third quarter. The Mustangs drove 46 yards on 10 plays to setup a 3-yard run by Hogan. The Hornet defense stopped the Mustangs’try for 2 points and held a 1-point, 13-12 lead.

Originally, the Mustangs had punted back to Loyd Star at the10:54 mark but the Hornets were penalized for roughing punterSamuel Wallace. Loyd Star was penalized 15 yards and McClain gotthe ball back at the Hornet 30 and scored.

Ross was concerned about the offensive line and the lack ofyards produced. The Hornets rushed the football 35 times but cameaway with just 6 yards.

The Loyd Star defense came through at the 7:12 mark in the thirdquarter when the Mustangs fumbled on the Hornet 13-yard line. LoydStar lineman Dustin Sisco came up with the ball in the end zone togive the hosts possession at the 20 and stop the scoringthreat.

“We have to get better up front,” said Ross. “We were outmannedtonight. But we played hard.”

Leading the Hornet receivers with 4 catches for 70 yards wasAntoine Smith. Hamilton followed with 3 catches for 65 yards.

Powering the Mustang running game with 77 yards on 16 carrieswas running back Calvin Smith. Cobbins finished with 39 yards on 6carries.

Defensive stats were unavailable at press time.

“I would like to thank the fans for staying around and cheeringus to the victory,” added Ross.

Purvis invades Loyd Star Friday night. The game begins at 7p.m.