By David Wheeler/NEMS Daily Journal
BOONEVILLE – The Northeast Tigers recorded their first shutout of the season on Thursday, stopping the Holmes Bulldogs 21-0 in their North Division home opener.
“I saw a group of guys out there playing hard,” Northeast head coach Ricky Smither said, whose Tigers are ranked No. 19 in the nation. “We wanted to build on our defensive presence tonight, and let our offense eat a lot of clock.”
The Tigers (4-0, 2-0) pretty much were successful in all areas for Smither, starting with the Northeast defense.
Holmes managed only 121 yards passing, and 117 on the ground. And most importantly, the Tigers snuffed out the two scoring opportunities that the Bulldogs (1-3, 1-1) managed.
The first stop was in the second quarter as Holmes used an advantage in field position from its special teams to move to the Northeast 24-yard line. There, Marvell Taylor picked off a pass to stop that threat.
Holmes’ other chance was on its first possession of the second half, marching from its own 20 in 12 plays to the Northeast 5-yard line. The Bulldogs lined up for a 22-yard field, but Eli Canton burst through the middle of the Holmes line to block the kick.
“The defense answered the call tonight,” Northeast defensive coordinator Jeff Carter said. “Since the first game, we’ve told them not to give up the big play, and we didn’t allow that tonight.
“It was important for the defense to get that shutout tonight.”
Offensively, Northeast had its moments.
On its second possession, Northeast managed a 10 play, 75-yard drive highlighted by hard running from Michael Poole from Ripley. The drive was capped by a 14-yard Ryan Jones touchdown reception from Corinth’s Parks Frazier.
In the second period, a pair of Fraizer completions set up a 1-yard plunge by Jamarcus Goodloe, and Northeast held a 14-0 halftime lead.
The Tigers added their final points in the third quarter on a nice reaching grab by Tres Houston on a 13-yard throw from Parks.
The Corinth freshman finished the contest with 164 yards throwing in just three quarters of work.
Northeast gets a chance to test its early season work next week, on the road at No. 9 Northwest Thursday.