SHANNON – Experience won out.
Senior matchups won out.
And that meant that the Noxubee County Tigers claimed victory on Friday night, 28-7 over the Shannon Red Raiders in quarterfinals of the Class 4A state playoffs.
But do not let the score be misleading, the Red Raiders (9-4) were not backing down from the more experienced and playoff veteran Tigers (13-1), and acquitted themselves well.
“This year, this group had a lot of heart, and a lot of fight,” Shannon coach Chad Cook said. “I thought our defense played excellent tonight, and I thought our boys competed.
“I couldn’t be any prouder.”
And through three quarters of play, the outcome was very much in doubt.
Shannon avoided Noxubee’s first bullet, as a 67-yard reception by Terrance Barron deep into Shannon territory in the first quarter that saw the Tigers eventually turn the ball over on downs.
But Noxubee’s second possession turned out a bit different. A nine-play, 73-yard drive was capped by a wide receiver screen to Barron, whose speed turned a routine play into an 11-yard score and a 7-0 lead for the Tigers.
Play the rest of the half was in the middle of the field, with Noxubee’s veteran five-man front stuffing most running plays by Shannon feature back Bodarious Taylor, and sacking quarterback Legibert Bogan four times.
Finally in the third quarter, the Shannon offense hit on the right combination of plays. An 85-yard drive saw Taylor gain key chunks of yardage, with the possession capped by a 46-yard pass from Bogan to Keyon Lowery that tied the score at 7-7.
“When they pinned us inside the 10, and we ran the ball three times and couldn’t get a first down, I thought that was a turning point in the game,” Cook said. “Their D-line took over, and their seniors were making plays the rest of the way on our sophomores and freshmen.”
That field position shift in favor of the Tigers began with a 50-yard kick return following the Shannon touchdown. Then a 30-yard punt return by Noxubee turned the momentum against the Red Raiders.
Noxubee capitalized quickly on the field position from the punt return, scoring on the first play from scrimmage on a 19-yard sweep by Darrell Robinson on the second play of the fourth quarter.
The Tigers then iced the contest with two more fourth period TDs, with Robinson scoring on a 29-yard run. Robinson then finished off a 150-yard effort for the contest with a 4-yard plunge.
“We just didn’t make plays,” Cook said. “Nine out of out last 11 games, when we rushed for more than 150 yards, we won.
“Against New Albany, and now Noxubee, we didn’t.”
Taylor managed 93 yards on the ground for Shannon, while Bogan added 150 yards passing. Noxubee quarterback Deangelo Bullard threw for 149 yards.
David Wheeler/NEMS Daily Journal