By David Wheeler/Special to the NEMS Daily Journal
SHANNON – The Corinth Warriors have been on a bit of a mission since a two-game losing streak.
The Warriors accomplished their mission Friday against the Shannon Red Raiders, improving to a three-game winning streak with a 20-14 victory.
The contest settled the final two playoff spots in Division 1-4A, with Corinth earning the No. 3 spot and Shannon the No. 4 spot.
“Entering this season, I didn’t set any team goals,” Corinth head coach Doug Jones said. “We started 5-0, then went 0-2.
“Then, the staff and I decided to set a goal of going 8-2. The team bought in, and now we have to come up with a new goal for next week.”
Corinth (8-2, 3-2) opened up its play book from its usual ball-control for the first score of the contest. Quarterback Brady Allen hit Brice Spence in stride to complete a 61-yard touchdown.
Then in the second quarter, the Warriors added a 19-yard field goal by John Michael McPhail, and a 36-yard pass from Allen to Darius Gaines.
Shannon also broke the ice in the scoreboard as Diamante Pounds burst up the middle for a 58-yard scoring run as Corinth went into the locker room with a 17-6 lead.
Perhaps a key stretch in the contest, especially for Shannon (3-7, 2-3) occurred coming out of the intermission.
The Red Raiders offense fumbled on its first possession, then turned the football over on downs in the red zone its next two touches. And early in the fourth period, Shannon turned it over on downs again at the Corinth 24-yard line.
“Their kids came to play, and we didn’t,” a clearly dejected Shannon head coach Darryl Carter said. “This has happened to us all year, ain’t nothing new.”
Shannon finally broke through with 6 minutes, 52 seconds to play on a 13-yard pass from Devan Gilleylen to Jalen Thomas to cut the margin to 17-14.
Corinth responded with a nine-play drive, eating up an important three-plus minutes of time. McPhail bounced a 40-yard field goal over the cross bar to bump the lead up to 20-14.
Shannon managed to move the ball as far as its own 45-yard line, but turned the ball over on downs with 1:30 left.
Corinth will play at Louisville and Shannon at Noxubee County next week in the first round of the Class 4A playoffs.