By Jay Tidwell/Special to the Journal
PONTOTOC – After everything New Albany has been through, instead of falling apart, it’s all coming together.
The Bulldogs rallied for two fourth-quarter touchdowns and finished off Pontotoc in their final drive for a 21-14 win on Friday.
A 3-yard run by Boston Newsome and point-after by Eathen Rainey with 9 seconds left secured the win that seemed to be slipping away moments earlier.
“This football team has a lot of character,” said New Albany coach Ron Price, whose team lost to Itawamba AHS 44-43 in overtime last Friday. “Our team has a lot of fight. We put two touchdowns on the board and found a way to win.”
One way was giving it to Newsome.
The senior finished with 43 carries for 236 yards and three TDs.
“I knew we were going to get that (last) touchdown, because I believe in my guys,” said Newsome, who ran for 120 yardsin the first half. “We’re brothers, and we came together and scored.”
Newsome’s 1-yard run with 10:15 left in the second quarter gave New Albany, the Daily Journal’s No. 5-ranked team in Class 3A/4A, a bit of breathing room after two earlier trips within striking distance came up empty.
Pontotoc’s defense forced turnovers on downs at their 10 and 2.
Pontotoc’s defense held again late in the second. Jeb Millender’s 62-yard punt pinned New Albany (2-1) at its 5. The Bulldogs pushed out to midfield, then regained possession when the punt was bobbled at the 25. A fake field goal came up short for the break.
Deonte Dilworth broke loose for a 40-yard score on Pontotoc’s first possession of the second half to tie it at 7-all.
The Warriors (1-2) went ahead later in the period on Reid Tackett’s pick-six from the Bulldogs’ 35.
Newsome took over in the fourth, carrying the ball 10 times in an 80-yard scoring drive to tie it midway through the quarter.
“Anytime us and New Albany play, it’s a good game,” said Pontotoc coach Ken Byars. “They’ve gone through a lot and keep playing hard. In the first half, they dominated us between the tackles and we were anemic on offense.”
The Bulldogs held on the following drive, then responded with another 65-yard scoring push that finished with Newsome’s dive in the closing seconds.