Kicking game helps Panthers edge Bulldogs

By Brandon Speck/NEMS Daily Journal

Click here for a photo gallery of the game.

AMORY – It came down to feet in Amory on Friday night. In a contest of top Class 4A teams, Amory beat New Albany 30-21 at Longenecker Field.
Amory punter Tanner Poole pinned New Albany inside its 1 on a 57-yard punt in the first quarter and his defense converted a safety to pull within 7-2. After a free kick, Amory quarterback Jon David Poss found Dario Robinson for a 51-yard touchdown pass for a 9-7 lead and New Albany played from behind most of the way.
“If you don’t think Tanner Poole may be one of the best in the business, you need to watch what he does,” Amory coach Trent Hammond said. “People overlook special teams.”
Trailing 23-21 with 3:09 left in the game, New Albany tried to sneak in a fake punt from its own 17. Amory (3-1) got the stop and Robinson scored on a 1-yard run to ice it.
The two teams entered the night tied for fifth in the Daily Journal’s Class 3A/4A rankings.
“We were just trying to get the ball back. They had rushed nine a lot this year. It was just a desperation move trying to make something happen,” New Albany coach Ron Price said.
New Albany (2-2) got on the board first with Spencer Day’s 8-yard touchdown to Kachius Clay.
Amory had two big plays in the first half, one a 68-yard catch-and-run from Poss to Devin McIntosh a play after New Albany took a 14-9 lead on Day’s 20-yard touchdown pass to Austin Howard. Poss was 10 of 15 for 177 yards and two touchdowns, as well as a rushing score.
“They had two big plays and we had none,” Price said. “Good football teams find a way to win games like this.”
The Panthers scored the only touchdown of the third quarter, a 6-yard run from Poss. New Albany pulled within 23-21 on a 1-yard run from Day early in the fourth quarter.
Amory lost four fumbles but had a pair of interceptions. Boston Newsome had 23 carries for 88 yards for New Albany. McIntosh had three grabs for 110 yards.
“Special teams can be big,” Poole said. “If you’re back deep and put them inside the 10, that’s big for our defense.”
brandon.speck@journalinc.com