By David Wheeler/NEMS Daily Journal
SPRINGVILLE – In this complicated world, keeping things simple still works.
The North Pontotoc Vikings simply dominated the first quarter Friday against their county rivals, eventually beating down the South Pontotoc Cougars on Friday, 42-10.
“In the first half, the kids came out and ran the ball well, and threw the ball well,” North Pontotoc coach Brian Sutton said. “When you get into this kind of cross-county rivalry game, you don’t need to get too caught up sometimes in it.
“Just go out there and play.”
With quarterback Brandon Bailey leading the offense, the undefeated Vikings (4-0) simply had very little to worry about after a four-touchdown first quarter.
Bailey ran for three touchdowns and passed for two more, with his first TD on the ground a 3-yard option keeper for the first score of the contest. The North Pontotoc senior bumped up the degree of difficulty on his next score, racing 56 yards just two minutes later for the score.
Bailey switched to the air for the next TD, a 36-yard connection on a nice pump fake to Caleb Mills. North Pontotoc then finished out its first-quarter blitz with a 6-yard run by Mitchell Cunningham for a 28-0 lead.
“There’s no doubt they’re a good football team,” interim South Pontotoc coach Roger Chism said. “They don’t do many things, but what they do, they do pretty well.”
The pace slowed down a bit the rest of the way, with North Pontotoc adding another visit to the end zone in the second period. On the first play of the period, Bailey connected with Shemiah Carter for a 34-yard score.
The Cougars (1-3) finally broke onto the scoreboard in the closing seconds of the period on a 22-yard field goal by Matt Collums, and the Vikings led 35-3 at the half.
“Our offense did a good job running the ball, and our defense put good pressure on their quarterback Wesley Barefield,” Sutton said. “The wins keep getting better and better this season.”
Bailey finished with 10 completions for 186 yards and finished his scoring for the contest in the third quarter with a 4-yard run.
South Pontotoc added its lone touchdown in the fourth period on a 22-yard run by Matt Adams.
Cunningham added 100 yards on the ground for the Vikings, while Bailey managed 72 yards rushing.