By David Wheeler/NEMS Daily Journal
FULTON – If Itawamba Indians head coach Jon Williams had a vision for his offense entering the 2011 season, it finally came to life Thursday.
Cousins Keon and DeShawn McGaughy combined for 303 yards rushing to help the Indians to a 42-27 victory over the Holmes Bulldogs in North Division action.
“We’ve been waiting for this,” said Williams of the effort of the Indians’ offense. “I’m most proud of how we owned the fourth quarter.”
To the casual eye, the McGaughy’s were certainly front and center for this win.
Keon, from Shannon, slashed his way to 183 yards and two touchdowns. That backed up a 160 yards last week against Coahoma.
DeShawn, from Fulton, went over 100 yards for the first time this season with 120 yards and a score.
Just in the fourth quarter, the two cousins carried the football 19 times to contain any chance Holmes thought it had.
The other major plot of the matchup was the battle for second place in the North. Itawamba (3-4, 3-1) and Holmes (2-5, 2-2) were in a three-way tie for second in the division with Northeast starting the night.
With its win, Itawamba maintains its playoff hopes, and will square off against Northeast (6-1, 4-1) next Thursday in Booneville.
“We’ve got to have a short memory about our win over Holmes,” Williams said. “We have to move on to Northeast.
“No need to skirt the issue, this will be a big game for both of us.”
It appeared to be a big game for Holmes early on as the visitors moved to a 14-0 lead. The Bulldogs got on the scoreboard in the first quarter on a Jacorie Ousley 26-yard run, followed in the second period by a 7-yard effort by Ladarius Redditt.
Then the Itawamba offense found the right combination of plays.
Keon McGaughy scored on a 9-yard run with 8 minutes, 22 seconds left in the half, followed by a scintillating over-the-should catch in the end zone of 6 yards by Erick Buchanan of Aberdeen with 1:32 left.
But Holmes still had the halftime lead at 17-14.
“At the half, I told them the biggest thing was not to panic,” Williams said. “Just settle down and play Indians football.”
The Indians listened.
Martrez Townes grabbed an interception and raced 42-yards for an Indians TD on the first Holmes possession of the second half. Itawamba never trailed after that, with Keon McGaughy ripping a 46-yard score, Townes a fourth quarter 3-yard catch in traffic for his second TD, and DeShawn McGaughy a 3-yard run.