THRASHER – With players resting or injured on both sides, a running clock and what had the feel of a lazy Sunday afternoon, Smithville started Division 1-1A play with a 14-0 win against Wheeler on Thursday night.
In a game that took all of 70 minutes – including halftime – Antwune Freeman scored on an 11-yard run in the second quarter and from 1-yard out on the first play of the fourth to start a seven-game division schedule for Smithville, the Journal’s second-ranked small school.
The first half took only 29 minutes, with each team having only two possessions. Smithville (4-1, 1-0) had four possessions plus two plays; Wheeler (1-4, 0-1) had the ball only four times in the game.
“We started division with a win. That’s always good,” Smithville coach Bubba Tacker said. “Now we’re getting ready to play Vardaman next week. It’s really turned into a good rivalry over the years. It ought to be exciting.”
Former Vardaman quarterback Austin Spann, now under center at Smithville, nearly put his team ahead with a 54-yard touchdown pass to Munchie Freeman, but the score was erased by a block in the back.
Antwune Freeman later scored on that drive for a 6-0 lead with 3:47 left in the half.
“We come out and we play hard,” said first-year Wheeler coach John David Horn. “Our numbers are not what you’d like to see as a football coach but the guys that we do have, have been here since the first day. All you can ask is to come out every day and work hard, try to get better.”
To start the second half, Smithville’s Kody Hathcock stopped Calebb Shinault on the opening kick return as Shinault had only two Seminoles to beat as he nearly found the left sideline.
Austin James had a 9-yard run to the Wheeler 5 to set up Antwune Freeman’s second touchdown that opened the fourth quarter. Antwune Freeman added the two-point conversion.
“I thought we did a really good job of tackling against one of the better teams in the state, a very well–coached team,” Horn said. “I just thought we did a good job of blocking and a good job of tackling.”
Brandon Speck/Monroe Journal