By Zach Adams
FULTON – The Itawamba AHS Indians picked up their fourth-straight win Friday when they defeated Shannon 31-7 in a Division 1-4A contest.
The Indians fumbled the ball away three times in the first quarter, but rallied behind a stout defense that shut out the Red Raiders in the second half. Sophomore running back Hunter White was responsible for two of the early turnovers, but matched his errors with touchdowns and led the Indians with 159 rushing yards.
“The turnovers happened after big plays,” IAHS coach Toby Collums said. “You get momentum, but then you kill it by turning the ball over. We have got to get out of that because each of the last two weeks we have had three turnovers in the first half.”
IAHS (5-2) forced a quick three-and-out to open the contest, but White put the ball on the ground to give the Red Raiders (3-4, 1-1) a short field at the Indian 45. The defense once again held, however, and special teams came up big when Mike King blocked a Hunter Robbins punt that was recovered at the Shannon 26.
White picked his way inside the 20 before rumbling into the end zone from 15-yards out.
A Peyton Green muffed punt and another White fumble gave Shannon two more prime opportunities in IAHS territory. The Red Raiders were unable to capitalize, however, as two unsuccessful field goals, one blocked and the other missed, preserved Itawamba’s lead.
Shannon finally got on the board early in the second quarter when Xavier Gardner broke tackles and jumped over a pile of defenders before breaking free for a 60-yard jaunt.
A 21-yard Lorenzo Minto field goal gave the Indians back the lead as they went into the half leading 10-7
After giving up 180 rushing yards to the Red Raiders in the first half, IAHS yielded only 2 in the second as they ran away with the contest.
The offense also found its stride as rushing touchdowns by White, King and Jevontae Stegall of 48, 2 and 9 yards broke the game open.
“I love my kids because they come in every Monday ready to work hard regardless of what they are hearing,” said Collums of his rapidly improving squad.
“They believe in what we are doing and each other. As long as they continue to do that, we will continue to get better.”