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Hornets turn back Enterprise-Clarke

Fans would have thought the host Loyd Star Hornets had the gameunder control with a 26-0 lead over the Enterprise-Clarke Bulldogsat the half on Williams E. “Sambo” Smith Field Friday night. No onetold the Bulldogs as they came back with 20 unanswered points tocut the deficit to 26-20 before Loyd Star woke up and took a 41-26win in the opening round of the Class 2A state footballplayoffs.

Loyd Star (10-1) travels to Bassfield (10-2) Friday night in thesecond round in the state playoffs. Bassfield whipped Pelahatchie40-0 Friday night. The game begins at 7 p.m.

Enterprise-Clarke, coached by Joel Speed, finished the season6-5.

Loyd Star senior running back Tradareous Wilson, who led theHornets with 14 carries for 129 yards and a touchdown, never gaveup on his teammates.

“In the third quarter, we got too comfortable,” said Wilson,following the win. “Coach (Ryan Ross) to us we had to come out inthe second half like we did in the first. We went to work in thefourth quarter like we did in the first half. Enterprise-Clarke wasa good playoff team and fought hard.”

Ross said he was pleased by the Hornet offense that took overwhen the defense slacked up in the second half.

“Enterprise-Clarke gave us all we wanted,” said Ross. “They hada great run in the second half. But our offense came back to answerthem when our defense slacked.

“We are happy to be in the Sweet 16,” added Ross. “Tonight was abig night for us. We have to hand it to our kids.”

Loyd Star ran off 4 plays before scoring its first touchdown ofthe night at the 10:19 mark on a 17-yard burst by seniorquarterback Joseph Shelby. Chris Buie kicked 3 of 5 extra points tohelp the Hornets to a 7-0 lead.

Enterprise-Clarke took the football and drove 56 yards in 7plays before fumbling at the Loyd Star 1-yard line. Hornet FredClark recovered the turnover to help set up the second scoringdrive.

The Hornets ran off 8 plays and marched 74 yards to set up a26-yard scramble by sophomore wide receiver Marquis Hayes for theTD and a 14-0 lead with 2:58 left in the first quarter.

Loyd Star took over at its own 36 after holdingEnterprise-Clarke on 4th down and 15. Eight players later, Shelbybroke loose around the left corner for a 7-yard TD plunge as thehosts pushed their lead to 20-0 with 5:35 left in the secondquarter.

Five plays later, Bulldog running back Rashawn Johnson fumbledand C.J. Duckworth recovered for the Hornets at their 18-yard line.Seven plays later, Shelby hooked up with McKinley Hamilton for a48-yard touchdown pass. The try for two points failed but Loyd Starcommanded a 26-0 lead over Enterprise-Clarke at the half.

Hornet defender Adrian Newton picked off Enterprise-Clarkequarterback Maxwell Harmon with 3:42 remaining in the firsthalf.

The Bulldogs took the second half kickoff and marched 60 yard on7 plays to score on a Johnson 2-yard plunge for the TD. TylerHagood kicked 3 out of 4 extra points as the visitors trimmed thedeficit to 26-7 at the 7:22 mark.

Loyd Star turned the football over two times in a row on thenext two possessions. The Hornets stopped Enterprise-Clarke on thefirst one but couldn’t prevent the Bulldogs from punching in a1-yard touchdown by Johnson with 1minute remaining in the thirdquarter. The Bulldogs cut the Hornets’ lead to 26-14.

Going into the fourth quarter, Loyd Star was driving whenShelby’s pass was picked off by Enterprise-Clarke defender TylerCopeland at the Bulldog 27. With the benefit of a pair of 15-yardpenalties assessed against Loyd Star and three big runs, DustyAcreman scored on a 9-yard run to cut the Hornet lead to 6 points,26-20, with 9:53 left to play.

Regaining momentum, Loyd Star drove 59 yards in 5 plays to setup a 1-yard run by Wilson, followed by a 2-point conversion run byWilson to push the Hornets lead to 34-20 with 7:51 left on theclock.

The Bulldogs came right back with a 60-yard, 8-play march andscored on a 5-yard run by Johnson for the final TD and trimmed LoydStar’s lead to seven points, 34-27, with 4:49 remaining.

Three plays later, the Hornets drove 55 yards and punched intheir final touchdown of the game on a 22-yard burst by MarquisSims as Buie hit the PAT kick for a 41-27 lead.

Defensively, Loyd Star was led by senior linebacker David Fieldswith 20 tackles. T.J. Floyd made 14 stops followed by TravisSorrels with 13. Duckworth finished with 9 tackles, a fumblerecovery and a sack. Adrian Newton had 8 tackles and intercepted apass. Clark made 7 tackles and recovered a fumble.