By Zach Adams/The Itawamba County Times
FULTON – The playoffs represent a chance at a new beginning for most area teams, but Itawamba AHS coach Toby Collums and his undefeated Indians hope the postseason will follow the same script as the 11 weeks that preceded it.
So far, things are going as planned as the Indians successfully began their Class 4A journey Friday night when they used their powerful running game to dominate Kosciusko and roll to a 42-0 opening-round victory.
Running backs Ashton Shumpert and Charles Moore combined for five rushing touchdowns and 211 yards in the first half.
“We came out with a lot of intensity and played great on defense,” said Shumpert, who rushed for 158 yards and two scores, while also contributing 8 tackles and an interception from his safety position. “We came in with the mindset that we didn’t want this to be our last game of the season.”
IAHS (11-0) got off to a fast start on the opening possession by alternating carries between Shumpert and Moore.
Moore, who finished with 53 yards and three TDs, capped the 8-play drive when he powered his way to pay dirt from 11 yards out.
Kosciusko (4-8) moved the ball into Itawamba territory behind the efforts of its big senior running back Deavolon Edwards, but a costly fumble recovered by Luke Harris led to a quick Shumpert 33-yard TD four plays later.
Quarterback Tyler Dossett showed his ability to improvise in the second quarter when he scrambled and hit Makel Hamer in the end zone for a 30-yard TD that signaled the beginning of the end for the Whippets.
Shumpert scored from 51 yards out and then intercepted Kosciusko quarterback Tim Wade on the ensuing possession to set up another TD, this time a 5-yard Moore run.
Moore capped all scoring with 30 seconds to go in the half on a 26-yard jaunt that, after which, led the IAHS coaching staff to turn to the backups for the remainder of the contest.
“We weren’t really crisp last week (against Tishomingo County), so to come out and be crisp in the first round of the playoffs is pretty sweet,” Collums said.
“The kids need to be proud of (the win), but get back out here on Monday and get ready for the second round.”