Aberdeen defense leads to big victory in A-Game

AMORY – The 73rd edition of the A-Game was everything Aberdeen wanted it to be and nothing like host Amory had in mind.
The Bulldogs padded a 22-0 halftime lead with Erik Buchanan’s 88-yard touchdown catch midway through the third quarter and went back to South Monroe County with a 36-3 win and the A-Trophy.
“We came out and played good all night long,” Aberdeen coach Chris Duncan said. “Our quarterback’s back well, and I think everybody has seen what he can do when he’s healthy.”
What quarterback Aaron Andrews did was throw for 207 yards on 6 of 10 passing with two touchdowns.
His defense did plenty to back him up, limiting Amory to 94 yards and three first downs.
Aberdeen (2-2), the Daily Journal’s No. 2-ranked Class 3A school, drew early blood after Eric Mitchell recovered a fumble caused by a hard hit from Channing Ward on Amory’s second play from scrimmage. Mario Lucas took the ensuing Aberdeen handoff 17 yards for a 6-0 lead.
“The play they ran was a speed sweep, which we’d stopped twice,” Amory coach Pat Byrd said. “We missed two tackles and you can’t miss tackles against folks that can run.”
On the first play of the second quarter, Aberdeen’s Aaron Andrews hit a wide-open Rashad Pargo for a 74-yard touchdown. A minute before the half, Jamerson Love ran it in from four yards out and Buchanan caught his second 2-point conversion for a 22-0 lead.
Andrews said after the game his ankle felt fine for the first time in four games.
Amory (0-4) was held to two long runs from Jore’el Freeman and a 33-yard tipped pass from Forest Williams to Reggie Griffin. Aberdeen totaled 363 yards, 156 on the ground. Freeman 47 yards on four carries for Amory.
“Another good defensive effort,” Duncan said. “That did a lot for the ballteam. A lot of people were down on us last week. I think we’re back. I think we’re ready to roll.”

There goes Buchanan
With 7:09 to go in the third quarter, Buchanan caught an 8-yard pass from Andrews, escaped two Amory defenders and outran everyone else to the end zone for a 29-0 lead after Pargo’s kick.
Amory, which upset the Bulldogs 22-21 in Aberdeen last Halloween, got on the board on Zack Khima’s 31-yard field goal with 3:32 left in the third. Aberdeen answered with Love’s second touchdown, a 44-yard run up the Amory gut for a 36-3 lead with 1:25 to go.
Love finished with 113 yards on 15 carries with two touchdowns. The highly recruited back has scored nine touchdowns on the season.
Aberdeen linebacker Decedrick Quinn held the A-Trophy as a sophomore. He left Longenecker Field for the last time with it again.
“To be a senior and win it, it’s a whole other feeling,” Quinn said. “It’s like we’re on Cloud Nine.”

Brandon Speck/Monroe Journal