By Melissa Meador/Monroe Journal
ABERDEEN – With the Division 2-3A title on the line, Aberdeen coach Mark Bray got the performance he needed from a pair of upperclassmen at just the right time.
In a 20-13 win at home over division rival Water Valley (8-2, 3-1), the Bulldogs rolled to a 4-0 division record behind senior Aaron McMillian and junior Sammie Burroughs, who each hauled in a TD pass from QB Josh Williams and grabbed a key interception.
“You just can’t say enough about those guys tonight,” Bray said. “Both of their touchdowns were in heavy coverage, and they just made the plays.”
Water Valley got on the board first with a 33-yard scoring run from Brandon Bounds on the Blue Devils’ second possession of the game.
Turnovers hurt both teams on the next three drives with Williams fumbling in the red zone and getting picked off, and Burroughs picking off Water Valley QB E.J. Bounds at the Bulldogs’ 28.
“Anytime you have a big game like this, you’re going to have kids playing eager, and those mistakes are going to happen,” Bray said of Aberdeen’s problems with turnovers and penalties in the game.
After failing to complete his first three passes, Williams got going big in the passing game early in the second quarter, finding McMillian for a 70-yard scoring play to bring the Bulldogs down after a failed extra point kick. Chico Harrison, who finished the night with 138 yards on 21 carries, added an 8-yard TD run with 30 seconds left in the half.
After a defensive struggle in the third quarter that saw a combined five penalties, Water Valley took the lead three minutes into the fourth with a 5-yard scoring run from Brandon Bounds.
Aberdeen (8-2, 4-0) responded on the next drive with Williams finding Burroughs in the back of the end zone for a 26-yard TD and hitting Trey Mims on the two-point conversion. A long Water Valley drive was stopped with McMillian’s pick in the end zone with 35 seconds to go.
“Water Valley’s a great team, and this is a big win for us,” Bray said. “It puts us in a solid position to host a couple of games in the playoffs, depending on how everything works out.”