By Blake Long/Special to the Journal
TUPELO – For the second consecutive week, Tupelo High running back Quinn Tiggs started slow out of the gate before having a strong impact in the second half.
With the offense struggling as a whole through two quarters, Tiggs put Tupelo into motion with an 82-yard third-quarter touchdown run. From there, the Golden Wave held off Center Hill 20-17 to win their 2012 home opener.
Tupelo’s offense had compiled just 41 yards and Tiggs himself had only 10 yards in the first half.
That changed on the Golden Wave’s second drive of the second half. Tiggs broke a tackle then outraced Center Hill’s Jaquarius Wilson down the Tupelo sideline to up his team’s lead to 13-3.
“My fullback hit the linebacker so all I had to do was make the safety miss, and I just turned it on from there,” Tiggs said. “We had a little difficulty at the beginning, but coach sat us down and told us to keep on pushing it and it would open up for us.”
The Mustangs (0-1) responded just before the end of the third. Calvin Summers picked off Wave QB Thomas Harris and returned it 54 yards for six points.
The Golden Wave defense stepped up again in crunch time. Center Hill took over at Tupelo’s 36-yard line down 13-10 halfway through the fourth quarter looking for the go-ahead score.
States Norman ensured that didn’t happen. The sophomore recovered a big fumble and Otis Wilson did the rest, going 32 yards the following play for a touchdown to give Tupelo (1-1) some breathing room at 20-10 with 2:59 to play.
“You can’t make every play, but when the opportunity comes you have to step up and make them,” Norman said. “It was just a big relief.”
Rally falls short
Center Hill put together a quick eight-play, 80-yard drive with the clock winding down that was capped by a nice one-handed TD catch by D’marius Gillespie from Jacob Marsh.
Boone Frederick attempted an onside kick, but the ball went right to Tiggs who fell on it to seal the victory for Tupelo.
“I was proud of our team as a whole. Not just defense, not just one or two people but as whole our team played good,” Tupelo coach David Bradberry said. “We stayed together and that’s important.”
Tiggs finished with 123 yards on 10 carries. Harris had a 1-yard TD run in the first quarter.