PONTOTOC – It wasn’t hard for Saltillo coach Pat Byrd to say what pleased him more about his team’s lopsided win on Friday.
He likes shutouts.
The Tigers’ defense grabbed four interceptions and Diamante Pounds ran for 178 yards in a 41-0 win against Pontotoc.
“I like the goose egg; I like the shutout,” Byrd said. “Defensively, we’re not very big and we’ve got to be able to run around, and we did that pretty well tonight.”
An interception by Colin Hardy off a pass by Will Ard at midfield set up a short run by Tyler Tollison with 3:58 showing the opening period.
Less than a minute later, A.J. Rye returned another pick 47 yards for a score and the Tigers stayed in control.
Pounds broke a pair of tackles and romped 48 yards for a TD midway through the second. He added another score on a 12-yard sprint with just under two minutes in the half.
Saltillo (2-0) led 27-0 at the break.
“We are able to bring more power to the run game,” said Pounds, a junior. “The O-line kept on their blocks until the whistle blowed and didn’t give up.”
Pounding it home
Pounds, who had 21 carries, scored for the third time with 8:52 remaining. He broke a tackle on the way to the left side, then scooted past two more defenders for a 20-yard run.
The best scoring opportunity for Pontotoc (1-1) came late in the first quarter. A pair of completions by Ard to Donte Freeman, a reverse to Freeman and a 31-yard run by Jon Hall edged the Warriors to Saltillo’s 16. Ard was sacked by Worth
Robinson for a loss back to the 25, and the Tigers forced a turnover on downs.
“We’ve got to learn to keep fighting, no matter how things are going, good or bad,” said Pontotoc coach Scott Brown. “Our defense played a heck of a game. We’ve just got to find a way to keep them off the field.”