By Brandon Speck
BOONEVILLE – Booneville beat Mother Nature to beat Tishomingo County on Friday night.
The Blue Devils grounded pass-happy Tish 48-26 in a driving rain. Tishomingo’s touted quarterback, Blake Hawkins did not play the second half after suffering an apparent non-throwing shoulder injury on the last play of the first half.
“We forced turnovers. We didn’t turn the ball over and didn’t make excuses,” Booneville senior Andrew Lambert said.
Booneville, the Journal’s No. 5 Class 4A/3A team, scored the first 21, but won it in the third. Booneville scored 68 seconds into the third on Zeus Rogers’ 46-yard touchdown and went up 41-18 on quarterback Jack Simpson’s 1-yard run following a fumbled Braves punt return. Tish had cut the lead to nine.
“A lot better effort in the third quarter,” Booneville coach Mike Mattox said. “We jumped up 21-0 and it seemed like our kids shut it off. You can’t do that.”
Tish fumbled the wet opening kick and Booneville got a 35-yard touchdown run from Elijah Tate. Simpson then broke free for a 53-yard touchdown.
Tish (2-3) muffed a punt that Ben McCutchen got at the Booneville 11. Simpson found Lambert for an 11-yard touchdown.
Hawkins turned it on with a 14-play drive that ended on his 1-yard touchdown.
“That’s kind of been our style,” Tish coach Lanny Jones said. “We’re just going to have to execute a little bit better and quit spotting people all the points.”
Hawkins threw a 5-yard pass to Joseph Flanagan, but Booneville (3-1) answered with a 36-yard touchdown catch from freshman Tyrese Bell. Hawkins’ 32-yard prayer as time expired in the half was caught by Brannon Gamble, but Hawkins was injured on the two-point attempt. He ran for 101 yards on 15 carries and accounted for three touchdowns.
Simpson ran for 101 and scored on two runs and threw two touchdowns. The Blue Devils ran for 287.
Tish added a 1-yard run from Flanagan. Rogers scored from 4 yards out.