By David Wheeler
MOOREVILLE – It was almost more than Mantachie Mustangs head coach Mike Hill could take.
“I feel like I've been run over by a train,” said Hill following his team's contest with the Mooreville Troopers.
Hill had every reason to have his blood pumping a little faster than usual as Mantachie withstood a Mooreville rally to escape with a 27-20 victory.
“You should have paid extra to get in” an equally drained Mooreville coach Jamie Russell said. “Neither team can hold their head down.”
Mantachie (2-0) entered the fourth quarter with a 27-14 lead, and its running game appeared ready to run the clock out in the final period. But the Troopers had other ideas.
In desperation mood late in the quarter, Mooreville (1-1) ripped off a 3-play, 85-yard drive. Quarterback Bradley Allred connected with Rashad Williams for the final four yards and the touchdown, and with 4 minutes, 46 seconds left, Mooreville had pulled within 27-20.
The Mustangs managed two first downs to eat some valuable time off the clock, but the Troopers did get the football back with 32 seconds remaining.
Allred quickly hit Adam Robertson for a 41-yard completion down to the Mantachie 29-yard line. Out of time-outs, Mooreville rushed into another play, but Allred was sacked as the clock ran out.
“Our defensive showed a lot of heart and guts tonight,” Hill said. “I have to give a lot of credit to our offensive line for their effort.”
That line helped Wes Weaver rush for 134 yards, and quarterback Malcomb Warren run for three touchdowns.
Warren got the scoring going in the first quarter on a 45-yard pass to Jason Pettigo for an early 6-0 Mantachie lead. Mooreville responded on the ensuing kickoff as Williams raced 82 yards for the TD to tie the game at 6.
Mooreville then gained the lead in the second quarter on a 23-yard pass from Allred to Williams. Mantachie marched right back down the field, with Warren scoring on a 22-yard scramble, zig-zagging from the left to the right, tying the contest at 14.
Warren toured both sidelines again on his second score, a third quarter option keeper of 37 yards. Warren then capped his night with a 1-yard effort late in the third quarter.
“Warren surprised us with his big plays,” Russell said. “He was probably the difference in the game.”
Mooreville travels to Baldwyn next, while Mantachie hosts Tishomingo County.