By John L. Pitts | NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – There’s no question what the Mississippi Hound Dogs will focus on when they return to practice today: offensive execution.
“We’ve got to find a quarterback,” Hound Dogs head coach Martino Theus said after Saturday night’s 35-30 loss to the Rome (Ga.) Rampage in the debut for both teams. “We’ll have plenty to work on after we look at the film from this one.”
The Hound Dogs led 30-19 early in the fourth quarter before unraveling.
“The game should have been out of reach long before the end,” Theus said. “We had a chance to put them away early.”
Theus used three quarterbacks in the game, starting both halves with rookie Richard McFadden, from Amory. Jami Boland, fron Nettleton, came on in relief in both halves, throwing a pair of touchdowns.
But both struggled to be effective. McFadden finished the game 5 of 12 for 31 yards, failing to complete a second-half pass after suffering a finger injury; Boland went 4 for 9 for 72 yards with the two TDs, but the Hound Dogs were flagged for several offensive penalties while he was taking the snaps.
That combined output – unofficially, 9 for 21 for 103 yards – is inadequate in the fast-paced indoor game.
Worse, a couple of fumbled snaps and a fourth-quarter safety opened the door for the Rampage comeback, spoiling what had been a solid effort the Hound Dogs’ defense.
Another positive fo the young franchise: Saturday night’s lively crowd of 2,387. “I looked up there and saw more fans than I expected,” Theus said. “I hope they liked what they saw and will come back and watch us again. We will get better.”
Theus takes the team on the road Friday night to the Florida Tarpons. The team’s next home game will be a March 23 rematch with the Rampage.