By Brandon Speck/Monroe Journal
ABERDEEN – South Pontotoc made it look easy – for the first 70 seconds.
Aberdeen made it look dominant the rest of the way.
The Daily Journal’s top-ranked Class 3A school, Aberdeen scored 49 unanswered first-half points in a dominating rout on homecoming, clinching the Division 2-3A title with a 70-14 win.
“Our kids played well tonight,” Aberdeen coach Chris Duncan said. “I think we’ve been sloppy the last couple weeks, and besides the first few plays of the game I think we played pretty good.”
Pretty good may begin to fit senior back Victor Hodges, who in less than a half of work piled up 230 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 11 carries.
He scored on runs of 56 and 63 yards in the second quarter.
In the first quarter, South Pontotoc drove down the field, 63 yards in three plays, one a 48-yard run from quarterback Wesley Barefield to set up Deonte Dilworth’s 14-yard touchdown.
“There was a little lack of focus right in the beginning, but we got it worked out,” Duncan said.
From that point, it was all Aberdeen.
The Bulldogs (9-1, 4-0) answered with QB Desmond Jones’ 11-yard touchdown run on a mishandled snap, Channing Ward’s 25 yard touchdown catch-and-run and Brandon Smith’s 24-yard interception return, his sixth of the year, for a 20-7 lead.
“They were beatable,” Dilworth said. “We had them tied. In the second quarter, they started scoring.”
Hodges scored twice and Aaron McMillian caught a 45-yard pass from Jones. Freshman Chico Harrison also found the end zone late in the half.
Aberdeen’s Andre Jernigan picked up a fumble in the first quarter that led to a score. Smith’s interception came a play after Ward’s touchdown catch. Ward then narrowly missed a second straight interception with a clear path to the end zone.
With the clock running in the second half, Alex Pannell threw a touchdown pass to Evan Kidd before Aberdeen tacked on three more scores with Harrison’s 44-yard run, Tevin Jones’ 49-yard run and eighth grade quarterback Josh Williams’ 18-yard run.
“They’re good,” a mum South Pontotoc coach Roger Chism said.
Aberdeen amassed more than 500 yards, 400-plus on the ground. The Cougars (4-6, 2-2) have lost two straight after a 2-0 start in division.
“The kickoff and special teams coverage was better. Overall I was pleased,” Duncan said. “Defensively we needed to work on the passing game and I think we’re getting better there.”