By David Wheeler/NEMS Daily Journal
NETTLETON – The Nettleton Tigers felt outsized and outgunned most of the night by North Pontotoc.
And eventually, outscored.
Behind 184 yards rushing and three touchdowns by Mitchell Cunningham, the Vikings remained perfect with a 40-20 victory over the Tigers on Friday.
“They’ve got two big backs and five big offensive linemen who do a pretty good job,” Nettleton coach Jack Clark said. “When you’re outsized like that, it’s going to be a long night.”
Nettleton (1-5) did manage to jump ahead on the scoreboard first as Bryson Gardner hauled in an interception and scampered 42 yards for a TD on North Pontotoc’s first possession.
The Vikings(6-0) had an appropriate answer.
With Cunningham ripping off two runs that totaled 61 yards, backfield mate Shemiah Carter scored on a 5-yard run on their next possession.
The Vikings then followed with two scoring runs (2, 3) by Cunningham.
Nettleton tacked on a late-period score on a 4-yard run by workhorse Corbin White, giving North Pontotoc a 21-13 halftime lead.
“Nettleton came with a great offensive game plan that had us on the ropes on that side of the ball at times,” North Pontotoc coach Brian Sutton said. “We’ve got to get a lot better on both sides of the ball, even though we scored 40 points.”
The Vikings came out of the intermission with good focus, scoring on its second play from scrimmage, a 5-yard burst by Cunningham, which was set up by a 77-yard kickoff return by Adrian Davis. Carter, who contributed two scores and 69 yards rushing, got his second TD on a 29-yard run on the Vikings’ second possession of the quarter.
North Pontotoc then capped its scoring in the fourth quarter on a 4-yard run by Caleb Mills. Nettleton added its other score later in the third quarter on a 13-yard pass to Gardner from freshmen quarterback Jordan Smith.
“You don’t come ready to play every week, you’re going to have problems,” Sutton said. “We’ve got to tune in on our passing game to complement our running.
“We’ve made it through six games, but we’ve still got some work to do.”
North Pontotoc did surrender 142 rushing to the hard-running White, a junior for the Tigers. Nettleton also used five different quarterback during the contest.