BOONEVILLE – Disappointed to have to wait an extra day to play their division showdown against visiting Corinth, the Booneville football team had to be pleased with the end result.
The Blue Devils beat Corinth 44-37 on Saturday afternoon to clinch its first Division 1-3A title with one more week remaining in the regular season.
Thematchup was originally scheduled for Friday night, but due to a portion of the lights malfunctioning at Keenum Stadium on the campus of Northeast Mississippi Community College, the kickoff was reset.
“We were very disappointed. We wanted to play (Friday),” Booneville coach Jim Drewry said after his team improved to 9-0 overall and 4-0 in the division. “Our kids, I felt, were ready to play, and I didn’t know what to expect out of them.
“This is a special group of young men.”
Saturday’s win meant a changing of the guard in the division, as a team not named Ripley or Corinth resides at the very top of the standings for the first time since 1999.
“They earned it,” said Corinth coach Jimmy Mitchell, whose team dropped to 5-4 overall and 3-1 in the division. “They beat Ripley and they beat us.”
Booneville fell behind 10-0 to start the game, but got back into it on two interception returns for touchdowns. The first pick six was Robert Burress’ 79-yard interception return with 1:31 remaining in the first quarter. The second came when Bo Brown returned one 60 yards at the beginning of the second period.
That interception return marked the beginning of Brown’s big day. He would later score on runs of 1, 42 and 3 yards to lead the Blue Devils to a come-from-behind victory.
His last touchdown, with 10:29 left in the game, gave Booneville the lead for good as Corinth was clinging to a 37-36 lead. He finished with 103 yards on 23 carries.
“They didn’t panic when they fell behind,” Mitchell said.
Before Brown’s last TD run, Booneville quarterback Jeiron Jones hooked up with Tre Welch for a 77-yard touchdown reception with less than five minutes to play in the third.
Jones was 8 of 18 passing for 234 yards, and Welch had four catches for 179 yards.
“Four times the ball hit us on the hand and we dropped interceptions,” Mitchell said. “Two of those times they went on to score.”
Corinth quarterback Parks Frazier had pretty good passing numbers himself despite those two picks. He was 21 of 36 for 286 yards and two scores.
Warriors running back Deonta Herman also had a productive day, rushing eight times for 138 yards and two TDs on runs of 23 and 49 yards.
Warriors’ spark plug
And, once again, Diante Curlee continued his ways as Corinth’s spark plug in all phases of the game. He returned a blocked field goal 87 yards for a score to put the Warriors up 10-0 in the first quarter.
He caught one of Frazier’s touchdown passes just before halftime, a 15-yard reception with :34 seconds left in the half.
Rodrick Gaines caught the other, a 35-yard gain just over the halfway mark of the third quarter.
“We had chances to make plays and we didn’t,” Mitchell said. “They had several third-down plays and converted every one of them.”
NEMS Daily Journal