Early miscue sets tone for Patriots in title game loss

Football stockBy Gene Phelps

Daily Journal

CLINTON – Marshall Academy’s visit to Saturday’s MAIS Class A state championship game went downhill from the start.

The Patriots fumbled on the game’s first play.

Natchez Trinity recovered and scored a touchdown – an 11-yard run by Trey Hall – on its first offensive play to set the tone for an eventual 50-6 victory at Mississippi College’s Robinson-Hale Stadium.

“Losing hurts,” Marshall Academy coach Bart Jenkins said. “That’s two years in a row we’ve lost to quality opponents. We had some opportunities early to make this one different.

“We just didn’t get it done.”

The Patriots (12-2) lost to Brookhaven Academy last season in the AA state title game.

Natchez Trinity (13-0) scored five touchdowns in the first half – three on passes by quarterback Michael Whitley – to take a 34-6 halftime lead.

Whitley’s first-half TD strikes covered 66 and 48 yards to tight end Quinton Logan, and went for 21 yards to Wyatt Boothe.

“We blew some coverages, gave them some easy scores,” Jenkins said. “Then they went full-throttle.”

Whitley scored on a 5-yard run in the second quarter to give Trinity a 14-6 lead.

Marshall scored its lone TD in the first half on a 56-yard run by running back Jordan Harris with 1:00 left in the opening quarter.

Roughed up

Patriots quarterback Dakota Dailey, who came into the game with 3,900 yards of total offense, was sacked four times in the first half by the hard-charging Trinity defense.

Dailey, who suffered an ankle injury in last week’s semifinal, was injured again late in the first half and didn’t return to the lineup.

The Saints came in having given up just 21 points in their last nine games.

Trinity scored twice in the third quarter on a 7-yard run by Demarcus Fleming and a 9-yard scamper by Whitley.

The Patriots reached the Trinity 10-yard line midway in the third quarter, but Harris was intercepted at the goal line by Jacob Sandrock.

gene.phelps@journalinc.com