By David Wheeler/Special to the NEMS Daily Journal
NETTLETON – By geography, the Class 2A Baldwyn Bearcats have been playing up all season.
By a hair Friday, the Bearcats held on for a good momentum building win.
The 3A Nettleton Tigers almost erased a big deficit, but Baldwyn in the end was able to chalk up a 21-14 victory.
“We want to compete, that’s one of the reasons we play bigger schools,” Baldwyn head coach Michael Gray said. “But at the end of the year, we want to be rolling in our division.
“I liked the way our kids fought tonight. We didn’t hang our heads when we could have. We’ve been outplayed in the second half this season, but tonight, we were able to make plays to get the win.”
When things were totally rolling in the right direction for Baldwyn (2-3), it built a 21-0 lead.
The Bearcats broke on top in the first quarter on their very first possession. A 26-yard run by Laquintez Upshaw set up a 2-yard scoring run by Bradley Boose.
Then in the second quarter, the Baldwyn passing game racked up a touchdown with Corbin Scott finding Clayton Gray for a 10-yard score.
“Early on, we executed really well,” Gray said. “To be the football team we could be, we’ll have to overcome adversity.”
And finally in the third quarter, Will Moore collected a bouncing punt, then spilt the coverage for a 74-yard touchdown that put the Bearcats up 21-0.
An advantage the winless Tigers (0-5) had no hope of overcoming. But not so fast.
Nettleton responded to the Baldwyn score with a pair of nice receptions by Tanner Crowley from Dakota Cruber for 30 yards. That set up an 11-yard scoring run by Nick Lindsey with 10 minutes, 15 seconds to play in the game.
After a Baldwyn punt, Nettleton launched an 80-yard drive in 11 plays, aided by a 44-yard pass to Lavert Jernigan.
Eventually, Cruber scored on a 1-yard run, and with 2:54 remaining, Nettleton had pulled within 21-14.
Baldwyn, with the help of a penalty and a first down run by Upshaw, was able to run out the clock and preserve the win.