The Houston Hilltoppers minimized mistakes on the road and after Week 1 have matched their 2013 win total.
Brandon Townsend rushed for 206 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries, and the Toppers defeated Pontotoc 29-12 on opening night.
Last year Houston reached the playoffs while winning just one game. Turnovers kept Houston from notching a few more wins, but that wasn’t the case against the Warriors.
“We’ve worked a lot on ball-security and situations. We know we’ve got to have two hands on the football and be smart. It’s a mental mindset that we preach,” Houston coach William Cook said.
Pontotoc cut into a 13-0 second-quarter deficit with a 7-yard pass from Jacob Carter to Mario Murphy, but before the half ended Houston had padded the lead with a safety and a 14-yard run by Taylor Baskins.
Urriah Shepard got the Toppers on the board with a 1-yard run in the first quarter. Houston stretched its lead early in the second when Tay Bowden blocked a punt, and Shepard returned it for the score.
Saltillo 34, DeSoto Central 13: At DeSoto Central, the Tigers exploded with 28 points in the first quarter, twice scoring on interception returns.
In those first 12 minutes Diamante Pounds had touchdown runs of 5 and 65 yards. David Little returned a pick 20 yards, and Stephen Prude returned one 51 yards.
The Tigers scored six in the second quarter when Tristen Daniel and Little connected on a 73-yard pass play.
Smithville 13, Belmont 2: At Belmont, a first-quarter safety had the Cardinals ahead through two quarters.
They were even hanging around until the final minute until Smithville’s Neal Knight recovered a fumble and raced 72 yards to the end zone. That put the Seminoles up by two scores with just 1:16 to play.
It was Knight who put Smithville ahead earlier. His 4-yard run in the third quarter gave the Seminoles a 6-2 lead.
Falkner 57, Middleton, Tenn., 0: The Eagles jumped out in front early with five first-quarter touchdowns by five different players – Adam Hearn, Richard Green, Alex Caldwell, Emontii Peterson and Jeremy Lawrence.
Falkner led 50-0 at halftime.
Corinth 42, Kossuth 0: At Corinth, the Warriors led 21- 0 after the first quarter. Javen Morrison broke the ice with a 34-yard interception return, and Montavious Shields followed with touchdown runs of 70 and 9 yards.
Antares Gwyn scored on a 38-yard run and threw a 3-yard touchdown pass to Armad Wicks, and Isaac Haney added a 10-yard touchdown run.
Alcorn Central 42, Biggersville 8: At Glen, Central led 19-0 at halftime and scored 23 points in the third quarter.
The Bears got their first points on a 45-yard fumble return by Skylar Sanders.
Ethan Carmichael scored on runs of 1 and 18 yards, and Saylor Gray had touchdown runs of 6 and 7 yards.
Mantachie 32, Ethel 0: The Mustangs had two 100-plus rushers as Austin Dill had 124 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries, and Logan Pettigow had 103 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries.
Mantachie got on the board in the first when Clayton Wood passed 13 yards to Logan McCoy.
New Site 16, Thrasher 6: At New Site, Koie Jackson scored on a 15-yard run and threw a 51-yard pass to Quentin Grzesiak.
Thrasher got a 35-yard run from Ladarius Andrews in the fourth quarter.
Starkville 51, Noxubee County 19: Brady Davis threw touchdown passes of 43 yards to Raphael Leonard and 11 yards to Chris Rogers.
Marshall Academy 70, Kirk Academy 22: Marshall scored 49 points in the first half. Quarterback Dakota Dailey led the way with nine carries for 112 yards and was also 13-for-16 passing for 256 yards.
Okolona 40, East Oktibbeha 8: At Okolona, Tyson Eddie threw five touchdown passes, four of them to Rod Jones covering distances of 90, 56, 45 and 26 yards. Jones had 217 receiving yards on the night.
Calhoun City 30, Coffeeville 20: At Calhoun City, Chakel Gates scored on runs of 1 and 3 yards and connected with Brieton Sykes on a 55-yard touchdown pass.
Amory 23, Independence 7: The Panthers pulled away on the road with 10 fourth-quarter points, a 45-yard field goal by Caleb Shelly and a 2-yard run by T.J. Fields.