Fit to be tied – New quarterbacks put to test in Oxford scrimmage

By Blake Long/Special to the Journal

OXFORD – Brian Sutton and Pat Byrd both saw good things out of their firstyear starting quarterbacks in the Ole Miss Jamboree.
But turnovers and missed opportunities plagued both QB’s efforts to put points on the scoreboard on Saturday. Saltillo and North Pontotoc ended their two-quarter scrimmage in a scorelesstie at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.
Tupelo Christian Prep transfer Andrew Soper made his debut for the Tigers, completing 7 of 12 pass attempts for 81 yards. The senior was also picked off twice, the latter by Hayden Baker in the end zone as the clock expired to end the game.
“He made some good reads, he made some bad reads,” Byrd, Saltillo’s head coach, said. “He’s adjusting and getting used to throwing to new people and they’re getting used to catching from somebody else.”
Soper led Saltillo into the red zone on their second drive. An option pitch to A.J. Hunt for an 18-yard gain and a nice 16-yard completion to Worth Robinson helped the Tigers come within striking distance.
After an incomplete pass on 1st and goal, Colby Graham recovered a fumble the following play to keep Saltillo off the scoreboard.
On the opposite side, North Pontotoc junior Trey Jolly compiled 89 yards on 8 of 15 passing and led two solid drives early in the contest.
Opening the game with the ball on their own 30-yard line, Jolly found three different receivers within the first five plays and drove into Saltillo territory.
Two incomplete passes in a row – the first a dropped pass that would have been a touchdown – halted the Vikings’ offense and turned the ball over to the Tigers on downs.
After an interception by Ben Shannon, a 25-yard reception by Murphy Daniel put North Pontotoc in good field position to start the second quarter.
That drive stalled when Hunt intercepted Jolly on the 10th play of the series. North Pontotoc went three-andout on its final three drives.
“We wanted to see what Jolly could do in some heat,” said North Pontotoc’s Sutton. “He’s still a little rusty but he threw the ball well early.”

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