By Jay Tidwell/Special to the Journal
TUNICA – Rosa Fort coach Edwin Norwood was concerned his team would have trouble with special teams.
The Lions pounded ahead to a second-half lead on Friday night but were unable to handle a pair of special teams plays by North Pontotoc in the final minutes and the Vikings came away with a 15-14 victory.
With North Pontotoc trailing 14-7 with just over two minutes remaining in regulation, Ben Shannon picked up 42 yards on a punt return to the Rosa Fort 20 that set up the winning touchdown three plays later.
Marcus Green caught a 20-yard pass from Trey Jolly in the right corner of the end zone and sprinted around the left end of the line on a quick-snap on the fake conversion kick with 1:13 remaining to put the Vikings ahead.
On Rosa Fort’s final possession, Shannon, a senior, came through with an interception in the end zone as time expired to secure the win.
“I was watching the quarterback,” Shannon said, “and when he launched, I went and got it.”
Green opened scoring for North Pontotoc (5-2, 1-0) with a 24-yard pass from Jolly with 8:12 in the first quarter. Rosa Fort went ahead in the third on a 75-yard run by Cedric Carter and a 1-yard keeper by Calais Dunn.
North Pontotoc’s defense slowed down the Lions enough in the fourth to open the door for the comeback.
“Our defense stepped up tonight and kept us in the ballgame,” said North Pontotoc coach Brian Sutton. “We just kept fighting.”