OLIVE BRANCH – Center Hill got “T-Boned” on Friday night.
Tenerious Montgomery, filling in for injured starting tailback Ashton Shumpert, rushed for 111 yards and scored two touchdowns, the second one a pile-moving, 9-yard thrust with 2 minutes, 6 seconds remaining to give the Golden Wave a thrilling 23-22 victory against Center Hill.
On the game-clinching score, the senior back was hit in the backfield, but still bulldozed his way to paydirt on a fourth-and-2 play surrounded by what looked like a rugby scrum of Golden Wave white shirts and Center Hill red jerseys.
“That was a heck of an effort,” Tupelo coach David Bradberry said. “That’s a big win for us.”
Tupelo (1-1) lost its opener 40-11 last week to Lafayette.
“My teammates kept their feet moving and I kept my feet moving,” said Montgomery, nicknamed T-Bone, of his winning run.
Shumpert will be sidelined three to four weeks with a stressed fracture in his lower leg. Montgomery said he didn’t feel any pressure to take the star’s place. “I just played my own game and did what I could do,” he said.
Center Hill had taken the lead, 22-17, with 9:37 remaining on a 10-yard run by Richard Hampton. The Mustangs got the ball at the 10 on a Golden Wave fumble.
Golden Wave offensive coordinator Andy Crotwell was impressed with Montgomery’s effort on the TD. “I don’t know if I’ve ever seen determination like that,” he said.
Tupelo took a 17-8 halftime lead on the strength two touchdown runs – 32 yards by wide receiver Matt McIntosh on a sweep and 30 yards by Montgomery.
Drew White’s 31-yard field goal accounted for the Golden Wave’s other first half points. A fumble by Center Hill quarterback Jacob Marsh after a jarring tackle by Wave linebacker Ladarius Watkins set up the kick.
Center Hill’s first-half points came on a 19-yard run by Curderion Hampton and a safety.
Gene Phelps/NEMS Daily Journal