PONTOTOC – The competitive nature of Division 1-4A in 2010 runs from wild to wacky to heart-stopping.
The Pontotoc-Shannon matchup Friday did nothing to dispel that, as the visiting Red Raiders hung on to claim a 48-41 victory over the Warriors, and remain undefeated within the division.
“This was kind of a crazy game,” said a disappointed Pontotoc coach Charlie Dampeer.
Crazy? There were three straight onside kicks in the contest – all in the second quarter.
Wild? Shannon running back Bodarious Taylor rushed 25 times for 208 yards and five touchdowns.
And the heart stopping? After trailing by three scores, Pontotoc had possession of the football in Shannon territory with a chance to tie the contest.
That possession saw Pontotoc (5-4, 1-2) take the football from its own 22-yard line to as deep as the Shannon 34-yard line, only to throw an interception with 43 seconds remaining to play.
“That’s two crazy ones in a row,” said Shannon coach Chad Cook, whose Red Raiders scored 44 points and barely defeated North Pontotoc, which scored 42, last week. “For us, the turning point was being able to run the football.”
Run the football might be a mild way to describe how Taylor, in only his second game of the season, ran the football. He pounded the field with bad intentions for three quarters before sitting out the final period for Shannon (6-2, 3-0).
The Warriors scored on their first possession of the game, a 2-yard run by Randall Crayton, who totaled 147 yards on the ground himself. Then Taylor scored on runs of 22 and 1 yards to push Shannon ahead.
Still in the first period, Pontotoc tied the score with a 7-yard run by Don Fauver.
Moving to the second quarter, quarterback Legibert Bogan pushed Shannon back ahead with a 1-yard sneak. Then the contest moved into an unusual group of situations.
Pontotoc again tied the contest on a Marcus Reed 7-yard run. Then the Warriors attempted an onside kick, and had a chance of recovering.
That began the string of three consecutive onside kickoffs following scores, with Shannon riding the wave of momentum.
Taylor scored on a 5-yard run, and then the Red Raiders recovered the kick. Taylor scored again on a 9-yard run, and again Shannon recovered the kick, both times by Thomas Walton.
Neither team scored the rest of the half, and Shannon was holding a 34-21 lead.
“I thought in the second quarter, all of the onside kicks was a key time of the game,” Dampeer said. “We got down by 21 points, but did fight back.”
Both teams kept pushing in the third quarter, with Pontotoc scoring on an 8-yard run by Maurice Berry, and a 5-yard reception by Shaquille Gillard. Shannon scored on a 39-yard run by Taylor, and a 40-yard run by Marcus Thornton on his first carry of the contest.
Pontotoc entered the final period trailing 48-34, pulling within a touchdown on a 14-yard run by Crayton with 7 minutes, 28 seconds to play.
David Wheeler/NEMS Daily Journal