By Blake Long/Special to the Journal
IUKA – Second-year Tishomingo County coach Lanny Jones knew before the season started his team’s opening game against Byhalia would set the tone for the rest of the year.
The Braves may have lost that game, but Jones still feels the character of his team was established that night.
“We knew we had to let that game make us better,” he said. “Our guys have really reflected off that. They’ve been resilient.”
Tishomingo County has since won three games in a row entering tonight’s 7:30 homecoming game against Boone-ville, and resiliency has been a common theme throughout the Braves’ winning streak.
For example, Kossuth looked to put last week’s game away in the second half, up 12-7 and two yards away from another score.
But Tishomingo County’s defense halted the Aggies on four consecutive plays from that distance to force a turnover on downs. Following the stop, the Braves scored a fourth quarter touchdown to win the contest 15-12.
“(Resiliency) has been the key the past couple of weeks,” Jones said. “We’ve seen now the direction we have to go with these kids.”
Improvement on line
Jones points to the offensive line as the biggest improvement from last year, giving quarterback Blake Hawkins extra time to make decisions.
“We are undersized, but we’re stronger,” he said. “They have an athletic feel like we’ve got a bunch of fullbacks.”
Hawkins himself has been impressive four games into his sophomore season. He is the team’s leading passer and rusher, totaling 819 yards and 12 scores between the two.
“I dare to bet there are not a lot of sophomores as versatile as him passing and rushing,” Jones said. “He makes a lot of big plays that some senior quarterbacks can’t make.”
Jones said the Braves have been able to spread the ball around to different players. Five receivers have caught touchdown passes, including two-apiece from Gable Butler, Hunter Pounders and T.J. Lambert.
The 3-1 start for Tishomingo County is its best since 2007, when the Braves began the season 5-0.