SOUTHAVEN – Ashton Shumpert used his powerful legs to rush for season-high 282 yards Friday night against Southaven.
The Chargers, however, weren’t prepared for the Tupelo sophomore running back’s rocket arm.
Shumpert fired a 56-yard touchdown strike to wide receiver Terrell Pinson with 2 minutes, 19 seconds remaining to cap a 35-point second half and lead the Golden Wave to a 48-34 Division 1-6A victory against unbeaten Southaven.
“I knew it was coming,” Shumpert said of the halfback pass call. “I had been getting ready for it.”
Tupelo head coach David Bradberry waited for what he called, “the ideal time” to call the play.
“Southaven had to bite on it,” Bradberry said. “We’ve worked on it three or four weeks. We know Ashton can throw it.”
Tupelo improved to 5-1 overall, but more importantly, the Golden Wave upped its division record to 2-1 coming off last week’s stinging 47-14 loss to Starkville.
“That was a big win for us, tie-breaker wise,” Bradberry said. “Southaven will figure in, no doubt.”
Pinson caught five passes for 188 yards and three second-half touchdowns for Tupelo. Two of the TD passes were from quarterback Luke Hobson and covered 27 and 33 yards on the Wave’s first two possessions of the second half.
Tupelo trailed 27-13 at halftime.
Pinson sealed the win with an interception with 37 seconds remaining.
Shumpert, who rushed for 143 yards in the first half and 139 in the second, carried 39 times and scored two first-half touchdowns.
“He had 282 yards … he gets two sandwiches tonight,” Bradberry said, then laughed. “He gets stronger as the game goes on. Our offensive line blocked well tonight and gave him some seams.”
“I just don’t stop,” Shumpert said, then smiled. “I just keep going North.”
Shumpert had a 25-yard run late in the third quarter to set up a 1-yard sneak by Hobson that gave Tupelo a 34-27 lead.
Southaven (6-1, 2-1) rallied to tie the score at 34-34 on a 28-yard pass from Dominique Harris to Anthony Williams. Harris completed 14 of 24 for 222 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions.
Defensively, Tupelo held the Chargers’ potent attack to under 100 yards total offense in the second half.
“Our guys kept pushing. It’s hard to get pressure on Harris,” Bradberry said. “Our secondary made plays.”
Hobson gave the Golden Wave a 41-34 lead with 5:01 remaining in the fourth quarter on another 1-yard run. Shumpert opened the drive with a 30-yard run and Hobson had a 28-yard pass to Pinson.
A pass interception by Chaz Jones with 4:11 left led to Tupelo’s clinching TD, the Shumpert-to-Pinson halfback pass.
Arron Williams returned the opening kickoff 95 yards to give the Chargers a 7-0 lead.
Tupelo cut Southaven’s lead to 7-6 with 5:39 remaining in the first quarter with its Shumpert attack – give the ball to the sophomore seven straight times. His last carry was good for 5 yards and a 6-pointer.
Harris used his arm to give the Chargers a 20-6 advantage late in the opening quarter, throwing TD strikes of 8 yards to Shuntez Smith and 32 yards to Williams.
The Golden Wave answered Southaven’s third score with a 10-play, 58-yard drive that ended with Shumpert scoring on a 5-yard dash up the middle from a power set. Drew White’s extra point cut the Chargers’ lead to 20-13.
Shumpert and Hobson set up the TD with runs of 22 and 17 yards. Hobson’s 17-yard scamper on third-and-18 ended with a yardage-eating leap.
Harris, who completed 10 of 16 passes for 161 yards in the first half, gave the Chargers a 27-13 halftime lead with his second touchdown pass to Smith, a 24-yard with 4:58 left in the second quarter.
The Golden Wave returns to division play next week when it hosts top-ranked South Panola in a regionally televised “Y’all vs. Us” game.
Contact Gene Phelps at 678-1593 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Gene Phelps/NEMS Daily Journal