HORN LAKE – Lamar Aldridge doesn’t want to take any credit for Tupelo’s recent success.
Even after watching his Golden Wave rally with a 21-point third quarter Monday to blast Horn Lake 40-13 in a Division 1-6A game, the modest coach deflected praise.
“It’s my assistant coaches, the kids,” he said moments after running his record to 2-0 as Tupelo’s interim head coach.
“The kids picked it up in the second half. We just challenged them at halftime.”
Tupelo’s now 3-6 overall and 3-3 in division play headed into Friday’s final regular-season game against Olive Branch. Another win, and a little help within the division, could land the Golden Wave a playoff berth.
“I can’t worry about that,” said Aldridge, who directed the team to a 42-0 win against De-Soto Central last week. “We’ll take ’em one at a time.”
Tupelo played just hours after head coach Eric Collins resigned after six seasons. He was suspended Oct. 22 for an unspecified violation of district policy.
Aldridge wouldn’t comment on Collins’ resignation. Many of the players didn’t know until after the game.
Down 13-9 at halftime, Tupelo charged ahead 16-13 in its first possession. McKenzie Tyler, who rushed for 106 yards, scored on a 23-yard scamper.
On its next series, Tupelo made it 23-13 when quarterback Luke Hobson fired a 49-yard TD strike to Terrell Pinson.
Before the third quarter ended, Jeremy Foster hit Pinson for a 48-yard score on a wide receiver pass to push Tupelo’s lead to 30-13.
“We played sloppy in the first half,” said Golden Wave offensive coordinator Andy Crotwell. “Our kids were having trouble adjusting to Horn Lake’s defense. We told them to calm down and execute.
“We knew if we executed we’d be successful.”
Tupelo scored twice in the fourth quarter on Hobson’s 34-yard field goal and linebacker Hakeem Oduniyi’s 31-yard fumble return.
The teams exchanged back-to-back kickoff returns for two first-half scores.
Tupelo’s Tyler raced 82 yards with his return following a Horn Lake score – Jeffrey Carlyle’s 8-yard run – to tie the score at 6-6 in the second quarter.
Horn Lake answered on the ensuing kickoff when Jay Jones motored 91 yards to the end zone to put the Eagles back on top, 13-6.
Tupelo added a 31-yard field goal by Hobson to cut the Golden Wave’s deficit to four points, 13-9, at the half.
Gene Phelps/NEMS Daily Journal