By John L. Pitts | NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – Only a late touchdown on a busted play Saturday night let the Mississippi Hound Dogs avoid the worst home loss in local indoor pro football history.
The Lakeland Raiders left BancorpSouth Arena on the winning end of a 60-12 decision, as the Hound Dogs fell to 1-5 in their inaugural season.
“Horrible,” said losing coach Eric Bingham. “Every opposing coach I talk to says the same thing.
“We have receivers and defensive backs who can play with anybody. But offensive line? Problem. Quarterback? Problem. Defensive line? Problem.
“At those positions, we need better players.”
Lakeland (3-1) didn’t have a particularly impressive offensive effort, but took advantage of every Hound Dogs mistake. The Raiders’ DeAngelo Woodie returned a pair of interceptions 40-plus yards for TDs – no mean feat on a 50-yard field – and the visiting team never let their hosts get into sync on offense.
Raiders’ QB Tavares Woodley threw for three TDs and ran for a couple more. Unofficially, he completed 11 of 24 passes for 151 yards, but kept many plays alive by scrambling out of trouble.
Meanwhile, Hound Dogs QBs Jami Boland (Nettleton) and Richard McFadden (Amory) found little but trouble, as they each took a pounding from the Raiders.
Boland was sacked twice on the first three plays of the game and took a couple of big losses after bad snaps. One of those set up a safety that made the score 36-6 early in the third quarter.
Both Boland and McFadden threw interceptions that were returned for TDs by Woodie. His dazzling 50-yard run after a one-handed pickoff made it 53-6 with more than seven minutes to play.
McFadden threw both of his team’s touchdowns, a 10-yarder in the second quarter that made it 14-6 and a late scoring pass to Reggie Ellis.
Josh Smith, who played here as a member of the Mississippi Mudcats, scored on a 24-yard catch for Lakeland in the first half. Smith was later injured and and left the arena for treatment.
BCS Arena listed attendance for the game as 1,415, based on total tickets sold. After an open week, the team plays here again against Eastern Kentucky on April 21.
The worst home loss for a local team: The Tupelo FireAnts, in their second season (2002) lost by 49 (73-24) to Ohio Valley.