By Jay Tidwell/Special to the Journal
LEWISBURG – It’s a good thing North Pontotoc decided to show what it can do.
Mitchell Cunningham rushed for 303 yards and two touchdowns and Caleb Mills passed for three TDs and ran for another to help the Vikings regroup for a 38-14 region win at Lewisburg on Friday.
North Pontotoc (9-1, 3-1 in 2-4A) trailed 14-12 at halftime. It rebounded with four second-half TDs and shut out the Patriots (6-4, 1-3) after intermission, spoiling their homecoming.
Cunningham, a 5-foot-10, 210-pound senior, rumbled in from 9 yards out with 7:23 showing in third to put the Vikings back in front 18-14.
“I told them at halftime that we could go back out there and show them who we are, or we could just ball up and quit and our hopes for the playoffs would be pretty much over,” said North Pontotoc coach Brian Sutton. “They stepped up and they looked like the team of old.”
On the next series, Ryan Finch returned an interception 52 yards to set up a 28-yard run by Cunningham, who had a career-best in rushing.
Xavier Morris, Lewisburg’s leading rusher, was held to 67 yards on 16 carries.
“I was real proud of the way we fought back and had a lead at halftime,” said Lewisburg coach Butch Veazey, a 38-year coaching veteran who is in his second season with the Desoto County school. “(North) is a good second-half ball club and a veteran club. We didn’t compete very well the second half.”
The Vikings led early 12-0 on TD catches by Adrian Davis and Shemiah Carter.
Morris scored on passes of 66 and 28 yards from D.J. Steakley in the second quarter to give the Patriots the halftime edge.