By John Wilbert/NEMS Daily Journal
SHANNON – The passing game wasn’t exactly there early on for the fourth-ranked Golden Wave, but with a stout defense and an excellent kicker, the Tupelo High squad has enough right there to beat just about anyone.
The Wave forced six turnovers and Drew White booted three field goals in the Wave’s 23-8 defeat of fifth-ranked Shannon on the road Friday night.
The victory evens the Wave’s record at 2-2 on the year.
“The things that stand out about them are their defense and their kicker,” said Red Raiders head coach Chad Cook, whose team fell to 2-2. “We turn the ball over and they don’t even get a first down twice and they get six points.”
The Wave scored 13 points off turnovers.
The first points of the contest came four plays after a forced fumble. White converted a 48-yard kick to open up the second quarter.
And the only pass – out of nine attempts – that Wave senior quarterback Luke Hobson completed in the first half was a 33-yard strike to Josh Hamilton on a fourth-and-7 with 5:38 remaining before halftime.
“I told them what route they were going to run,” Cook said about his defense. “That’s why I called timeout. I told them they were going to run a vertical post and we just went brain dead.”
And then by spreading the Raiders out, Hobson was a perfect 4 of 4 passing in the third period, using three different receivers to amass 54 yards.
The Wave, however, scored only three points in that quarter, answering Red Raiders senior running back Bodarius Taylor’s 3-yard scoring run.
But the first minute of the final quarter saw Hobson, on a third-and-8, find Hamilton for a 16-yard TD.
Said Wave head coach David Bradberry, “They had eight in the box, so you ought to be able to throw some – you would like to be able to throw some. … And the time or two that he (Hobson) threw the curl or some middle routes in there, our guys did a pretty job of pass protecting, to give him a chance to pat it (the ball) about twice and wait on that guy to get open and then he throws a strike.”