By Jay Tidwell/Special to the Journal
ECRU – A new formation North Pontotoc installed this past week helped the Vikings load up against Nettleton.
With a five-receiver formation North Pontotoc has dubbed its “empty set,” Trey Jolly completed 18 of 26 passes for 334 and three touchdowns and no interceptions to lead the Vikings to a 45-26 win against the Tigers on Friday.
It was the final non-division game for both teams, with North Pontotoc heading into Division 2-4A competition and Nettleton facing 2-3A foes the rest of the regular season.
“We were trying to spread it out and use that new set and mix it up so they wouldn’t know where our guys were,” said Jolly, a junior who is in his first season as starter under center. “Those five wide helped us out.”
It helped North Pontotoc (4-2) to an early lead.
Greg Gambrel took a short toss from Jolly 43 yards for a TD on the Vikings’ second play from scrimmage. Newcomer John Gonzelez added the point-after and North continued to pad its lead.
Levert Jernigan scored on a 48-yard pass from Dakota Cruber to edge Nettleton within 7-6. Three second-quarter scores by the Vikings put it out of reach.
Marcus Green scored on a 1-yard run, Peyton Finch returned an interception 8 yards for a score, and Green broke loose for a 75-yard score moments before the break.
The Vikings led 25-6 at halftime.
“We came out with a little bit of a different game plan tonight on offense with a different formation,” said North Pontotoc coach Brian Sutton. “The kids were kind of nervous about it at first, but we started running it and saw we were giving a different look and they adapted to it.”
Nettleton fumbled away the opening kickoff for the second half, and North punched it in on a 6-yard pass from Jolly to Finch. Green scored on a 22-yard catch on the next drive and Nettleton (0-6) was unable to recover.
“They had some speedy guys in the right places and we couldn’t give up big plays, but we did,” said Nettleton coach Mike Scott. “We needed to put it in the end zone when we were in the red zone, and we didn’t do that either.”