By Jay Tidwell/Special to the Journal
SENATOBIA – For a couple of quarters, it looked as if another talented running back was going to have a big night against North Pontotoc.
After watching New Albany’s Boston Newsome pile up 306 yards a week earlier, the Vikings saw Tevin Wooten pick up 192 yards in the first half for Senatobia on Friday.
But North Pontotoc found a way to put the brakes on the speedy sophomore.
Wooten was limited to 11 yards in the second half, and the Vikings cashed in on points off of turnovers to grab a 26-14 Division 2-4A win against the Warriors.
“This week in practice, we really worked on it and got after it,” North Pontotoc linebacker Peyton Finch said about the run defense. “In the third quarter I called all our defense out and called myself out, and we got after them.”
Finch, a junior, provided a spark late in the third quarter when he recovered a fumble off a poorly fielded punt that set North Pontotoc (6-3, 2-1) at Senatobia’s 26-yard line. Six plays later, Trey Jolly rolled right and connected with Murphy Daniel for a 5-yard score with 9 minutes, 34 seconds in the fourth for the final margin.
Wooten, who ran for 290 yards the previous week against Lewisburg, scored both TDs for Senatobia (3-5, 1-2) in the first quarter. After a 27-yard score on the opening possession, he added a 74-yard sprint with 7:57 in the period.
An 86-yard kick return by Marcus Green and a 4-yard keeper by Jolly kept North within 14-13 by the end of the period.
“The first couple of drives, they were sticking it in our ear,” said North Pontotoc coach Brian Sutton. “But our guys came back, and the defense started figuring out what they needed to do. They kept them out, and got us the ball back a couple of times, and carried us tonight.”
Senatobia lost starting quarterback Tevin Wink on the first series with an injury and went with freshman backup Jonathan Edwards, who was seeing his first varsity action.
“That put us in a bind, but we still had the same running back,” said Senatobia coach Phil Oakley. “We couldn’t throw the ball and just didn’t answer the call the second half.”