BOONEVILLE – A flashy offense will always get plenty of praise from football fans.
But there is still something to be said for getting down and dirty in the trenches.
Running backs Jaquise Cook from Ripley and Jamarcus Goodloe from Alabama headed a ground-and-pound Northeast Tigers offense that held off the Mississippi Delta Trojans 26-13 Thursday in the North Division opener for both schools.
“The ability to run the football was the key,” Northeast coach Ricky Smither said.
Cook and Goodloe totaled 224 yards on the ground for the Tigers (2-1, 1-0).
None of those yards were very flashy at all; it was just old-school offensive might by Northeast.
The simplicity, and the importance of the Northeast ground attack this night was demonstrated on a pair of drives – one in each half.
The first was in the second quarter, a 20-play possession that moved the football from the Northeast 17-yard line to the Delta 6. The Tigers settled for a 23-yard field goal by Taylor Earhart for a 17-3 lead, but the length of the drive was a statement itself.
The other example basically clinched the victory for the Tigers in the fourth quarter. A drive that began at midfield took 10 plays, and resulted in a 30-yard field goal by Earhart with 3 minutes, 18 seconds to play for the final margin.
Cook carried the football on seven plays in that drive, eventually ending with 147 yards. Goodloe added his last two carries to total 77 yards.
“Cook is a banger, and he’s going to break a tackle,” said Smither of his sophomore back. “He’s a great guy to have on your team.”
Poor special teams play – specifically snaps – cost Northeast eight points during the contest. That included Delta’s first score, a 22-yard field goal by Ridge Rochell for a 3-0 lead, that was set up by a bad snap on a punt.
But Northeast responded with a 1-yard touchdown by Cook in the first quarter. A 2-yard TD run by Goodloe early in the second quarter pushed Northeast to a 14-3 lead.
The Trojans (0-3, 0-1) responded in the third quarter with a 1-yard scoring run by Jarvis Smith, followed by a 22-yard field goal by Rochell to close within 17-13.
Goodloe then padded the Northeast margin early in the final period on a 4-yard run.
Northeast visits Holmes next Thursday.
David Wheeler/NEMS Daily Journal