FULTON – A young fan was spotted inside Itawamba AHS stadium Friday night wearing a T-shirt that read: “Ashton ‘Showtime’ Shumpert.”
Shumpert, a sophomore tailback, certainly put on a performance at his former stomping grounds, rushing for 185 yards and scoring two touchdowns to lead Tupelo to a 31-6 victory against IAHS.
“I feel good, but I’m not satisfied,” said Shumpert, who transferred from IAHS. “I had a feeling I’d do well.”
Tupelo’s defense put on quite a show, too, holding IAHS quarterback Maikhail Miller to 135 yards of total offense – 101 passing, 34 rushing.
Miller who rushed for 52 yards in the first half, was held to minus-18 yards on five carries in the second half.
“I thought we played with a little more effort in the second half,” Golden Wave defensive coordinator Lamar Aldridge said. “We kept pressure on Miller and got some hits on him.”
Tupelo sacked Miller, who was 9 of 25 passing, twice in the second half.
“You’ve got to get on him,” Tupelo first-year head coach David Bradberry said. “He’s got a cannon for an arm. We got pressure on him. That’s all you can do.”
Tupelo improved to 2-0 while IAHS fell to 1-2 overall. The Indians, with Shumpert’s help – a 20-yard TD run – defeated the Golden Wave 35-13 last season.
Tupelo, leading 10-6 on a 30-yard field goal by Hunter Raines, took a 17-6 lead with 9 minutes, 48 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter on Shumpert’s second TD, a 3-yard run out of a full-house backfield.
Shumpert “plays with a passion,” Bradberry said. “I don’t know how many yards he gained after contact. I bet it was more than 150.”
Moments before his score, Shumpert had a 36-yard punt return for a TD nullified by a clipping penalty.
The Golden Wave added two late scores on a 4-yard run by backup tailback Tenerious Montgomery and a 28-yard scamper by reserve Devonte Rodgers.
Shumpert gave the Golden Wave a 7-0 lead on its opening possession, capping 30-yard, four-play drive with an 8-yard scamper on a toss sweep.
Terrell Pinson set up Tupelo’s good field position with his 25-yard punt return.
IAHS answered, marching 76 yards in 14 plays to reach the end zone. Miller, who had seven carries in the drive, scored on a 5-yard run. The Indians converted three third-down plays on the possession, the biggest a 16-yard pass from Miller to Jimmy Ruff.
P.J. Jones blocked the extra point attempt to help Tupelo keep a 7-6 lead.
Tupelo fumbled inside the IAHS 40, had a punt return for a TD by Pinson nullified when Jones roughed the punter, and missed on a 43-yard field goal attempt – by Raines – on the first half’s final play.
Contact Gene Phelps at 678-1593
Gene Phelps/NEMS Daily Journal