BELDEN – Will Cockrell and his Tupelo Christian Prep teammates wanted to put last week’s 45-point loss to O’Bannon behind them as quickly as possible.
“After that game,” said the Eagles’ junior quarterback, “we were wanting a victory. We don’t like being handled like that.”
TCPS got some “W” relief Friday night.
Cockrell and the air-minded Eagles turned to their ground attack on a rain-soaked field to defeat visiting Mississippi Association of Independent Schools member Greenville Christian, 39-15.
Cockrell rushed for 99 yards and scored two touchdowns to lead TCPS (2-3). He also completed 4 of 8 passes for 41 yards.
“We wanted to be hard-nosed running the ball this game,” he said. “We got our running game going.”
Greenville Christian (1-4), with the help of a fake punt, took a 7-0 lead on its second possession on quarterback Justin Leavy’s 3-yard run.
Three plays later, Cockrell answered with a zig-zag 59-yard scamper to tie the score at 7-7 late in the first quarter.
“(Cockrell) is the spark,” TCPS coach Aubrey Boren said. “We needed somebody to step up and make a play. That’s what leaders do.”
Ron Lavigne added an 8-yard TD run and Braxton Melancon scored on a 13-yard jaunt to give the Eagles a 21-7 lead midway in the second quarter. A 27-yard interception return by Brian Yim set up Lavigne’s score.
TCPS intercepted four passes and recovered three fumbles.
Hunter Raines kicked a 43-yard field goal that hit the crossbar and Dallas Finley was the fourth TCPS back to score at first-half touchdown. His 3-yard crash over right guard gave the Eagles a 30-7 halftime lead.
Cockrell scored on a 1-yard run and the Eagles recorded a safety for their second-half points while the visiting Saints scored on 56-yard third-quarter run by Leavy.
“After you’ve been beaten pretty heavily it’s good to come back and get a morale boost,” Boren said.
Gene Phelps/NEMS Daily Journal