By David Wheeler/NEMS Daily Journal
SALTILLO – The Saltillo Tigers were able to keep it simple.
Thanks to two defensive touchdowns, the Tigers simply chalked up a victory Friday with a 35-0 effort against Lee County rival Mooreville.
“We certainly were able to correct some things from last week,” Saltillo coach Pat Byrd said. “I’m proud of the kids coming back and getting the win.”
Saltillo (1-1) did not have to delve too far into its offensive play book, thanks to two interception returns.
The first was a 38-yard snag and return by Tyler Tollison in the first quarter.
The second was an 87-yarder by A. J. Hunt, who set sail down the field for the score in the third quarter.
“We played better up front defensively,” Byrd said. “We did a little better job of attacking the line of scrimmage.”
Saltillo opened its scoring in the first quarter on a five-play drive. A nice punt return by Hunt, and a solid reception by A. J. Rye set up a 2-yard score by Demontarius Irby. Later in the period came Tollison’s return.
Then in the second period, Rye snagged a 30-yard pass from Andrew Soper to set up a 4-yard scoring run by Irby for a 19-0 lead at the break.
Saltillo came out of intermission with good focus, beginning with its defensive effort. Four plays into the third quarter, Hunt cradled a Mooreville pass and returned it for a score.
That was followed by a 32-yard field goal by Rye for a 29-0 advantage.
Then the Tigers finished off their scoring for the quarter and the contest. Soper and Rye hooked up for a 21-yard completion, then Soper found Hunt, who made a nice little hesitation, scoring on a 25-yard play.
“At times, we threw and caught the ball well, and ran the ball well,” Byrd said. “We’re still a work in progress.”
If there was a bright spot for Mooreville (0-2), it was the ground game. Ben Johnson rambled for 95 yards, while Josh Johnson added 88 yards.
“You can’t give them four turnovers and stay in the ball game,” Mooreville coach Kevin Austin said. “We had moment we looked pretty good, then we’d shoot ourselves in the foot.
“By division time, we’ll do better.”