By Jay Tidwell/Special to the Journal
ECRU – Mitchell Cunningham turned a busted play into a booming run for North Pontotoc to open the season Friday night against Mantachie and the host Vikings went on to knock off the Mustangs 47-9.
After holding Mantachie to three-and-out in the opening series, Cunningham scooped up a loose snap on the Vikings first play from scrimmage, scrambled from the left side to the right, then bolted 51 yards down the sideline for the first score in a big night for the home team.
“We were running a play we always run, and got a bad snap,” said Cunningham, a 5-foot-10, 210-pound senior. “I debated whether to fall on it or run with it. I decided to run with it, and I saw all my guys outside cracking everybody and blocking. I cut up the sideline, and it seemed like a good play, but that wasn’t the way it was drawn up.”
Cunningham only touched the ball two more times, but finished with 89 yards rushing.
North led 27-0 at the end of the opening quarter.
Mantachie forced a safety on a botched snap on the first play of the fourth quarter. The Mustangs (0-1) scored on a 6-yard run by Cole Stephens with 9 minutes, 25 seconds left.