Fast start carries Rebels

By Brandon Speck/NEMS Daily Journal

OKOLONA – Thrasher wanted to put Houlka away quickly on Thursday night.
The Rebels executed that plan perfectly, scoring a 34-9 division victory against the Wildcats at Okolona’s Charles Faulkner Field.
Thrasher (4-1, 2-1 Division 1-1A) scored on its opening drive, scored again after an onside kick – and then the officials confused a down and Houlka punted on third down.
The punt was returned 70 yards by junior Luke Walden for a 20-0 lead.
“We knew Houlka had a good defense and we just wanted to put them away early,” said Walden. “We didn’t come out in the second half like we should.”
Houlka played without leading rusher James Buggs, who will miss the next three weeks with a fractured collarbone he suffered last week.
J.T. Huddleston’s 14-yard run and two-point pass to Keagan Dodds put Thrasher on the board. Walden added a 25-yard run after the onside recovery.
The Wildcats didn’t get the ball until the 6:46 mark. After a first down, they ran two plays and were forced to punt after officials ruled the third down play was a fourth down. Walden capitalized.
setting the tone
In the second, Thrasher got a 41-yard run from Walden down the home sideline and a 1-yard run from Logan Dodds to close the half with a 34-0 lead.
“We came out and jumped on them real quick and set the tone,” Thrasher coach Lamart Harvey said.
Logan Dodds had 81 yards on 10 carries. RJ Johnson rushed for 103 yards on 15 carries for Houlka.
Houlka (1-5, 1-3) got on the board in the second half as Craig Peden returned the kickoff 62 yards. Marquis Vance added a late 25-yard field goal.
“The onside kick was big and we didn’t tackle well early on,” said Houlka coach Rob Allen. “I thought we moved the ball all night but we’d shoot ourselves in the foot or Thrasher would make a big play.”
Thrasher hosts Tupelo Christian Prep next week. The Eagles eliminated Thrasher from the playoffs last season.
brandon.speck@journalinc.com