By Paul Jones/Special to the Journal
AMORY – The weather on Friday night was picture-perfect for Amory and New Hope. Too bad the play on the field was not.
In a mistake-riddled game, the visiting Trojans managed to make the fewest number of mistakes to a 37-6 victory.
Both teams combined for 29 penalties and nine turnovers, including five by the Panthers..
“You always hear it’s not as good as you think and not as bad as you think,” said first-year Amory coach Trent Hammond. “So we’ve got to go back and watch this film and try to find some positives. We need to find something to try to build on and try to get better.”
Offensively, the first half was one that Hammond would rather forget. And the nightmare started right off the bat.
Back-to-back bad snaps led to a New Hope safety on the Panthers’ first offensive series. Amory’s next offensive series ended with an interception that led to New Hope’s first touchdown of the game – a 21-yard scoring toss from Zack Thrasher to Dylan Hawkins.
The Class 5A Trojans (1-1), last year’s North State runner-up, added another score midway through the second quarter and took a 16-0 lead into the halftime break.
Not only did Amory (1-2) muster just 74 yards of offense in the first half, but it also had three turnovers. And it didn’t get much better in the second half.
“We’re not good enough, offensively, to make those kinds of mistakes,” said Hammond of the bad snaps. “Our defense hangs in there but offensively, we keep putting them in bad position. And it always seems to snowball from there.”
Amory quarterback Forest Williams spent much of the night scrambling in the backfield and was sacked five times.
But when given time to throw, Williams was often successful. The Panthers senior completed 13 of 21 for 131 yards but also threw four interceptions. Williams threw a 13-yard touchdown pass to Dario Robinson in the third quarter to help the Panthers avoid the shutout.
New Hope senior tailback Terrance Dentry finished with 144 rushing yards and one score. Dentry got most of his yardage on an 87-yard touchdown run on the Trojans’ second offensive play in the second half.