TUPELO – It goes in the books as a loss, verging on a more-than-forgettable setback.
But for three or four plays, the Tupelo Golden Wave’s season ending contest might not have been so forgettable.
Keshun Shipp and the Olive Branch Conquistadors made Friday the end of a forgettable 2009 season for the Wave as the senior back scored five touchdowns to help his visiting team to a 35-13 victory.
“We were still in this game in the second half,” said Tupelo interim coach Lamar Aldridge. “Give credit to Olive Branch.
“And Shipp is a tremendous back.”
While the Tupelo (3-7, 3-4) defense somewhat controlled Shipp on the ground, the 5-foot-10 running back made his biggest splash catching the football, gaining 167 yards through the air. And his first grab put Olive Branch (9-2, 6-1) on the road to a victory.
On the second play of the contest, Shipp was running a route over the middle when quarterback Todd Mays threw the football behind him. Shipp simply reached back and pulled the ball in, then raced the remaining way for a 54-yard score.
“He made a heck of a catch,” Aldridge said. “We knew he was a good receiver, one of the best in the state out of the backfield, but he just made the plays for them.”
Shipp added three more touchdowns in the first half, the next on a 3-yard run in the first quarter. In the second period, Shipp scored on a 13-yard run and a 25-yard reception.
Tupelo’s first score was in the first quarter was on a well executed 99-yard kickoff return by Skyye Jones. The Wave reached Olive Branch territory three more times in the first half, with the first two ending in turnovers.
The third time, Tupelo had to settle for a 23-yard field goal by Luke Hobson, and the Wave trailed 28-10 at the half.
In the third quarter, Tupelo had to settle again for just a field goal, this time a 25-yard connection by Hobson to close within 28-13. After that, the Wave were just a couple of completions away from pulling within one score of Olive Branch.
But the Conquistadors iced the contest by recovering a fumble on a punt in the fourth quarter. On the next play, Shipp went over a 100 yards rushing with a 12-yard TD.
David Wheeler/NEMS Daily Journal