By David Wheeler/NEMS Daily Journal
SHANNON – A solid defense and a flexible offense worked well for the Shannon Red Raiders on Friday night in the first round of the Class 4A playoffs.
That team effort carried the home team to a 48-26 victory over the Senatobia Warriors, and advanced Shannon into the second round against Greenwood, which beat Amory 14-7 on Friday night.
“I thought our defense played pretty good tonight,” Shannon coach Chad cook said. “It was a total team effort.”
Shannon (8-3) appeared ready in the first quarter to totally run away from the Warriors (6-5). With Senatobia mostly crowding the line of scrimmage to slow down dangerous Shannon running back Bodarius Taylor, Cook unleashed the throwing of quarterback Legibert Bogan.
Set up by a 27-yard Taylor run, Bogan started the Shannon scoring in the first quarter by hitting Jake Scott on a 36-yard scoring play. Later in the period, Bogan found Keyon Lowery for a 41-yard completion, setting up a 2-yard Scott run.
But Senatobia was still ready to pounce on any Shannon mistake, and the Warriors did just that early in the second quarter. Kordan Sandridge scooped up a Raider fumble and raced 82-yard for a touchdown that closed the margin to 14-7.
No less eager to take advantage of any opening, the Shannon defense responded to the challenge. Still in the second quarter, Marcus Thornton stepped in front of a pass, returning it 11 yards for the score, and a 21-7 halftime lead.
“Those guys were prepared,” Cook said of Senatobia. “I thought we were playing good in the first half, then I look up, and it’s 14-7.
“I knew they had loaded up to stop Taylor, so we took advantage of some soft coverage.”
The Warriors still had some fight, as evidenced on the opening kickoff of the second half, which Quintavius Burdette returned 73 yards for a TD. Shannon responded, digging into its playbook as Bogan hooked up with Lowery again on a hook route, who then pitched the football to Thompson, who skirted down the sideline to complete a 32-yard scoring play.
Again Senatobia fought back with a 40-yard burst for a TD by Demetrius Garrett. But Shannon finally earned a comfortable gap on the score board with three straight touchdowns of 8 yards on a pass to Nick Pack; of 10 yards on a run by Taylor; and a run of 18 yards by Devonta Middlebrooks.
Taylor managed to total 127 yards rushing for Shannon, while Bogan was good for 306 yards passing.