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Southwest Bears crush Coahoma Tigers

SOUTHWEST MEDIA / Photo courtesy of Jeff Walker/Jucoweekly.org / Southwest quarterback De' Angelo Ballard (18) hands off the ball to his running back Chris Jones in JUCO action Thursday night against Coahoma.

SOUTHWEST MEDIA / Photo courtesy of Jeff Walker/Jucoweekly.org / Southwest quarterback De’ Angelo Ballard (18) hands off the ball to his running back Chris Jones in JUCO action Thursday night against Coahoma.

CLARKSDALE – Behind the legs of quarterback De’ Angelo Ballard and Chris Jones, the Southwest Bears broke a 10-10 first-quarter tie and cruised to a 52-10 win over the Coahoma Tigers Thursday night in Clarksdale.

Ballard carried the ball 13 times for 174 yards and three touchdowns while Jones had 147 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries to help the Bears improve to 2-4 on the season.

The Tigers (0-7) drew first blood when Christian Williams returned the opening kickoff 101 yards for a touchdown. Cody Spears booted the PAT to put the hosts up 7-0 with 14:41 still on the first-quarter clock.

Taking the ball at their own 49-yard line after the ensuing kickoff, the Bears wasted little time in responding. Tyler Shell carried twice for 16 yards then capped the short drive with a 35-yard touchdown strike to Ladarrius Slocum with 13:36 on the clock. Reed James kicked the extra point to knot the game at 7-7.

After the Bears took a 10-7 lead on James’ 43-yard field goal at 8:51 of the quarter, the Tigers closed out the first-quarter scoring when Spears nailed a 33-yard field goal to tie the game with 2:06 on the clock.

Touchdown runs of one and 32 yards by Ballard, along with James’ PAT’s, gave the Bears a 24-10 lead at the end of the first half.

Separate touchdown runs of seven yards by Jones and Ballard, a two-yard scoring toss from Ballard to Carnell Owens and three James PAT’s extended the Bears’ lead to 45-10 after three quarters.

LaDarion Peterson picked up his first touchdown of the year, and the Bears’ final one of the night, on a seven-yard run with 10:48 left in the game and James hit his seventh PAT to give the Bears their final margin of victory.

Speaking of the first quarter and the Bears’ offensive explosion that followed, head coach Tucker Peavey said “The first quarter was obviously not very good, but they (the Bears) did bounce back and we ended up doing the things I thought we were capable of.” He said his players got ready to play after the first quarter “and they weren’t ready to play when we showed up. That’s on us as coaches and them as players.”

Peterson had 43 yards and a touchdown on two carries to help the Bears reach their 422 yard rushing total. Shell picked up 34 yards on eight carries. Slocum and Jonathan McNair also carried the ball.

Ballard and Shell combined to complete seven of 15 passes for 116 yards, giving the Bears 538 yards of total offense, with both recording a touchdown pass. Slocum had two catches for 49 yards and a score while Ed Smith caught two passed for 38 yards. Jones, Kelvin Williams and Owens each had one reception, Owens for a touchdown.

Addressing the difference in the running and passing yardage for the Bears, Peavey said, “That’s kind of been our Achilles’ (heel)-we don’t get both parts of the game going at the same time. I think if we want to do well next week, we’re going to have to because East Central’s a very good team.” (The Bears celebrate Homecoming against East Central on October 18. Kickoff is set for 5:00).

The Bears picked up 23 first downs in the game and were penalized six times for 60 yards.

The Tigers were held to only 189 yards of total offense, most coming via the pass. Anthony Mitchell and Mickey Ridley combined to complete 14 of 26 passes for 140 yards with Mitchell throwing one interception.

The hosts had 15 first downs in the game, were penalized six times for 44 yards and lost their only fumble. Spears punted five times for 46.8 yards.