By David Wheeler/NEMS Daily Journal
PONTOTOC – Five teams in Division 1-4A had a big question mark by their potential place-of-finish within the league.
Within all the scenarios, the Amory Panthers had the chance in their regular-season finale to finish as high as No. 1, or as low as No. 4.
Quarterback Forest Williams made sure it was a bold No. 1.
The senior dissected the 544 yards and seven touchdowns Friday Pontotoc Warriors for to help the Panthers to a 49-18 victory, clinching the No. 1 seed and a first round home game in the playoffs.
“We came from 3-9 last year, and it was huge thing to be picked as far down as many did, and then for the kids to believe in what we were doing,” said second-year Amory head coach Trent Hammond. “Williams definitely makes some good decisions, and they’re running good routes and understanding the offense.”
Pontotoc (6-5, 2-3) was on the other end of the spectrum in 1-4A. It loss, coupled with a Corinth win over Shannon, knocked the Warriors out of the playoffs.
The Warriors were looking for a knockout early, as Deonte Dilworth turned the first touch from scrimmage in the contest into a 57-yard score. In fact Pontotoc scored three times in the first quarter, adding field goals of 29 and 30 yards, earning a 12-7 lead at one point.
No problem for Williams and the Panthers (8-3, 4-1).
In the first period, Williams hit Tanner Poole for a 33-yard score, and then Dario Robinson for a 6-yard score. Then in the second quarter, Williams tossed touchdowns of 44 yards to Abaris Woodrick, 15 yards to Devin McIntosh, and 13 yards to Javon Fair.
“Tonight, the kids were running good routes,” Hammond said. “So much of our offense relies on spacing, and our offensive line was exceptional.”
In the first half alone, Williams was 29 of 35 for 418 yards.
He then added a 6-yard scoring toss to Poole and a 54-yard strike to McIntosh in the third quarter.
“It’s obvious Amory throws the football well, and they play a fast defense,” Pontotoc head coach Ken Byars said. “There were a couple of field goals we couldn’t turn into touchdowns, and that hurt our chances.”
Don Fauver added a 3-yard scoring run for Pontotoc in the fourth quarter.