SHANNON – So much for coming out rusty.
After an open date last week, the Shannon Red Raiders wasted little time in picking up right where they’d left off from a 2-0 start, dominating visiting Corinth from the opening kick in a 35-7 victory Friday night.
“I’ve never had an open date since I’ve been the head coach, so I didn’t know what to expect,” Shannon head coach Chad Cook said. “I was concerned that we’d struggle to find the rhythm we had in the first two games.”
No worries, coach.
The Red Raiders set the tone early, scoring three touchdowns in the opening quarter to take a commanding 20-0 lead. Tailback Keon McGaughy returned the opening kick 74 yards, setting up his own 14-yard scoring run two plays later.
McGaughy added a 54-yard TD scamper on his next carry, and Bodarius Taylor converted the two-point conversion to give Shannon a 14-0 lead.
Senior QB LeGilbert Bogan, who completed 6 of 11 passes for 145 yards and two scores, connected with wideout Chris Davis on a 55-yard scoring strike, giving Shannon the 20-0 lead with 5 minutes, 39 seconds left in the opening quarter.
“I told our kids before the game that we really needed to get off to a fast start,” Cook said, “and that’s what we did.”
Shannon added two more touchdowns in the second quarter – a 1-yard run by McGaughy and 25-yard pass from Bogan to Jarrius Hampton – to take a 35-0 lead into halftime.
“That’s a really good football team over there,” said Corinth head coach Jimmy Mitchell, who watched his team fall to 1-2 with the loss. “But we came back after halftime, kept our heads up and kept fighting. That’s the biggest thing to me. I’m proud that we never quit.”
Shannon rolled up 306 yards in the first half, with McGaughy carrying the ball six times for 88 yards and three scores. Defensively, the Red Raiders forced three first-half turnovers and limited the Warriors to 56 yards before the break.
‘Swarm to the football’
“Coming into tonight, I stressed to our team that we needed to swarm to the football,” Cook said. “I really wanted us to concentrate on playing ‘Shannon defense,’ which is 11 guys flying to the football. I thought we did that tonight.”
In the second half, Corinth cut the lead to 35-7 with a 1-yard scoring plunge by quarterback Parks Frazier. Jordan Parker added the PAT.
“We kept our heads high and didn’t give in,” Mitchell said. “We can take that forward with us.”
For his part, Cook was pleased with his team’s effort in every facet of the game.
“I thought we played a complete game, defensively and offensively,” he said. “(Bogan) made some throws and our offensive line was outstanding. Those guys never get the credit, but everything we do starts up front. Our offensive line and tight ends really did a good job.”
Now 3-0, Shannon will next travel to face Amory, while Corinth returns home to host Tishomingo County.
Brandon Walker/NEMS Daily Journal