By Scotty Nichols
FULTON – It was a “need-to-win” game for the Pontotoc Warriors, but it was a “must-win” game for the Itawamba AHS Indians.
Sporting a 1-2 Division 1-4A record and fighting for a playoff spot, the Indians used a huge fourth quarter to accelerate past a red-hot Pontotoc squad to pick up a big 40-21 victory and even their division mark to 2-2, with only a trip to Tishomingo County left on the slate.
Pontotoc jumped out to a 7-0 lead with just under a minute remaining in the opening quarter, when Jerrick Ray hauled in a 3-yard pass from Jacob Carter.
Carter would come out with guns a-blazing in the second half, throwing a pair of touchdown strikes to Austin Morphis and Ray to push the Warriors out in front, 21-14, heading into the fourth quarter.
The Indians dominatedthe final period, scoring four touchdowns in the final 10:18 and forcing a pair of turnovers on defense in the process.
“Tonight was a battle,” said IAHS coach Clint Hoots.
Turning Point: Hunter White intercepted a pair of Jacob Carter passes on consecutive drives in the fourth quarter to help IAHS to a two-possession lead.
Point Man: IAHS quarterback Vijay Miller completed 19-of-27 passes for 303 yards and three touchdowns, while also adding more than 50 rushing yards and a 34-yard rushing score.
Talking Point: “I feel like we really stepped it up a notch, as a team, in the fourth quarter tonight. Hopefully, it will continue in that direction for the next several weeks.” – IAHS quarterback Vijay Miller
• IAHS, Pontotoc, Shannon and Amory fall into a four-way tie in division 1-4A, and will fight for the final three playoff spots next week.
• Pontotoc quarterback Jacob Carter completed 18 of 33 passes for 260 yards and three touchdowns in the loss.
• Hunter White added a touchdown and 75 yards rushing on 15 carries to go with his two interceptions for IAHS, while Pontotoc’s Gabe Harmon finished with 110 yards on 23 carries.