BY BRANDON SPECK
SALTILLO – It took a team, but it sure helped to have a war horse.
Saltillo junior running back Diamante Pounds saddled up and bullied the Tigers to a 24-21 overtime win on opening night against DeSoto Central.
The 6-foot-1, 215-pound Shannon transfer rushed for 234 yards on 36 carries and two touchdowns. He also had a 95-yard kick return for a touchdown.
“He’s a freaking war horse,” Saltillo coach Pat Byrd said. “And we did a pretty good job blocking in front of him. Everything goes together. Everything’s relative.”
In OT, AJ Rye booted a 20-yard field goal and teammate Colby Hall blocked a tying 32-yard attempt from Austin Riley.
Down 21-14, the Tigers (1-0) opened the second half with seven runs, closing the drive with a 3-yard touchdown by quarterback Tyler Tollison that tied the game.
Mark Partee got DeSoto (0-1) on the board with a 92-yard touchdown from Cameron Bowman as the Jags’ up-tempo offense gave Saltillo fits. Pounds’ 21-yard run tied it at 7.
“They blocked really great,” Pounds said of his line. “They stayed on their blocks. I’m really proud about the O-line.”
Alan Lamar scored from 18 and 23 yards out to give the Jaguars a 21-7 lead before Pounds took it straight down the middle, untouched.
Lamar had 26 carries for 153 yards. Saltillo made the defensive plays, too. Hall had a pick to end a drive.
David Little had a key stop on a third down in the fourth. Then on the fourth down play, a flag helped out. Bowman fooled everyone when he took off to his right and slipped the ball to Lamar for a 41-yard touchdown. A holding flag called it back.
In OT, Hall’s hard hit forced an incomplete pass on a first down and Lamar was hit for a loss of five.
“We played pretty well on defense on that last series,” Hall said. “Luckily I got through.”