Special to the Journal
FULTON – The Itawamba Indians had some guts, and got some glory Saturday.
Recovering from a halftime deficit, and getting the go-ahead score on a fourth-down play, the seventh-ranked Indians improved to 5-0 for the first time in school history with a 27-21 victory over the Northwest Rangers.
“I believe that’s the first time we’ve been behind all year,” Itawamba head coach Jon Williams said. “I think we grew up a lot tonight.”
The Indians, who improved to 3-0 in North Division play, certainly played some hard-nosed ball in the second half, scoring two touchdowns while holding the Rangers (1-4, 1-2) scoreless after the break.
Itawamba began its game-tying drive in the third quarter, a 69-yard effort that included a 23-yard pass from Mooreville’s Griff Loftis to Jarvis Bently. Then on the first play of the fourth quarter, Chris Ingram from Southaven punched the football over from 1 yard out.
On its next possession, the Indians drove the ball inside the Rangers 10, but Northwest halted the effort with an interception.
But ICC was not discouraged, stopping Northwest and then beginning a drive at its own 29.
Getting the football to the 1-yard line, Williams sent the Indians offense on the field on fourth down, with Ingram powering into the end zone with the go-ahead points with 4 minutes, 41 seconds to play.
‘Fun to watch’
“I thought at if we couldn’t move the ball six inches, we didn’t deserve to win,” Williams said. “We got smacked in the face with adversity, and it was fun to watch how the guys battled back.”
Itawamba moved to a 14-0 lead in the first half on a 4-yard run by Loftis, and a second quarter 80-yard strike by the Mooreville sophomore to Jonardreon Jones.
But Northwest responded with 21 straight points, including a 17-yard TD reception by Tupelo’s Josh Hamilton and a 74-yard fumble return by Keith Reynolds with 6 seconds left in the half.
“We knew we were going to face adversity,” said Loftis, who threw for 371 yards. “We had to truck on to win this ball game.”