ECRU – When Nettleton got within sniffing distance, North Pontotoc’s defense gave its offense a chance to put the game away early.
It eventually took all 48 minutes in a 41-35 win against the Tigers (1-1).
Anthony Franklin’s 25-yard touchdown run pulled Nettleton within 27-14 in the second quarter, but North Pontotoc struck back less than 2 minutes later on Brandon Bailey’s 5 yard TD pass to Trae Foster.
John Wilgus then recovered a Nettleton fumble and Bailey took advantage with a 23 yard touchdown strike to Cage Mills on the drive’s first play. Kyle Robbins’ extra point made it 41-14 Vikings at the half.
“We knew we had to come out full speed. We had to come out physical. That’s what we did the first half,” North Pontotoc coach J.J Plummer said. “I thought we played excellent the first half. We learned our lesson the second half. We’ve got to play four quarters.”
Bailey threw for 228 yards and two scores on a 17-of-25 outing. The Vikings had 445 total yards, 310 of them in the first half.
Trailing 41-21 in the fourth, Nettleton wasn’t done. On fourth-and-11 midway through, Franklin hit Patrick Jones for a 70 yard touchdown to pull the Tigers within 41-28.
After stopping the Vikings (2-0) inside the Tiger 10, Franklin found Odarius Lowe for a 30 yard TD to pull within 41-35 with only 4 seconds remaining.
The Vikings recovered the onside kick attempt to seal it.
Nettleton took an 8-0 lead on Lowe’s 20 yard touchdown run on the game’s opening drive, but North Pontotoc scored the next 27 points, the last two touchdowns on runs of 2 and 6 from back Joe Robbins.
“They were well prepared and played hard,” Nettleton coach Jack Clark said. “I’m sure we put up some good numbers because we scored 35 points, but overall we just did not execute on offense.”
Brandon Speck/Monroe Journal