By John Wilbert/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – Grenada’s offense totally outplayed Tupelo’s.
The thing is, however, they were lining up against the Golden Wave defense on Friday and not its offense.
The Wave defense held its own as a kickoff return, a fumble recovery and a fumble return played a large part in a 27-21 home victory for the Wave.
“We had a lot of people that made plays,” said head coach David Bradberry, whose fourth-ranked team evened its Division 1-6A mark at 1-1 and improved to 3-3 overall.
The Chargers (4-2, 1-1) outgained the Wave 360-222, but committed three costly turnovers that led to 17 points.
Marquis Allen returned a fumble 60 yards to make it 21-13 Wave with 4:08 remaining in the third and, less than three minutes later, Drew White added a 32-yard field goal after Quinn Tiggs intercepted Payne Horan.
White finished out the scoring by kicking a 27-yarder with 4:28 left.
After rushing for 52 yards on eight attempts in the first half, Horan connected on a 65-yard touchdown pass to Trey Bledsoe and a 28-yard one to Darius White in the final 24 minutes.
“They didn’t do much differently. We just didn’t execute when we really needed to,” said Horan, who completed 16 of 32 passes for 196 yards and two TDs, while rushing for a 15-yard score in the first quarter.
What a way to start a game for a brand new quarterback than by returning the opening kickoff for a TD. Matt McIntosh did just that, busting 86 yards through the middle of the field to give junior QB Thomas Harris – making his first start in place of the injured Luke Hobson – a 7-0 lead to work with.
Harris also had the privilege of handing off to superior running back Ashton Shumpert. The junior tailback – who returned last week against Columbus after missing four games due to a leg injury – had 37 carries for 181 yards and a touchdown, which was set up thanks to his teammates recovering a fumble when Grenada tried to punt from inside its 10 and bobbled the snap.