NEW ALBANY – It’s very difficult to overlook the scoring potential of the New Albany offense.
But head coach Ron Price feels the Bulldogs’ defense deserves its share of the spotlight as well.
Price saw his undefeated Bulldogs stifle star quarterback Maikhail Miller and the Itawamba AHS Indians Friday en route to a key 48-13 victory in Division 1-4A play.
“It’s exciting to watch our offense, and it’s a total team effort with the load of weapons we have,” Price said. “But I’m thrilled for our defense.
“Nobody is talking about them. When they’re getting the ball back for us all the time, it makes it extremely easy for us.”
In this early battle of unbeaten’s within 1-4A, the Bulldogs defense was able to limit Miller to 152 yards passing, and just 32 yards on the ground. Itawamba also managed only one offensive touchdown.
“We played hard at times, and had opportunities at times,” Itawamba coach Ashley Kuhn said. “New Albany’s offense is very efficient.
“They can run, and they can throw.”
New Albany (8-0, 2-0) saw quarterback Tyler Basil extremely efficient with his yardage, throwing for 136 yards. But Basil achieved maximum points, throwing for four touchdowns, and running for another.
Basil began clicking on New Albany’s first possessions, finding Taylor Goode for a 33-yard reception and score. This was one of three receiving TD’s on the evening for Goode.
Basil and Goode hooked up again in the first quarter for a 13-yard score. And before Itawamba could catch its breath, the Bulldogs were up three touchdowns as Basil connected with Kareem Brown for an 11-yard score early in the second quarter and a 20-0 lead.
Itawamba (4-4, 1-1) fought back the rest of the half, getting its first score on a 33-yard run by Miller. Then four plays later, Austin Shumpert stepped in front of a pass, returning it 64 yards to pull the Indians within 20-13.
The Indians threatened one more time in the final seconds of the half. A fumbled punt gave Itawamba the ball at the New Albany 6-yard line, but two sacks ran out the clock.
“It was just an outstanding effort out of the defense,” Price said. “They had a tough challenge trying to control Miller, and they did a good job.”
The New Albany offense showed its explosive potential again in the third quarter with three scores. The first on a Basil 1-yard sneak, then a 17-yard pitch and run by Kelvin Worship, and capped with a 12-yard pass to Goode.
Worship, who rushed for 155 yards, added a 1-yard scoring run in the fourth quarter.
David Wheeler/NEMS Daily Journal