By Gene Phelps/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – Ashton Shumpert’s Friday night ended nearly as soon as it started.
Tupelo’s talented running back, who rushed for 1,328 yards last season as a sophomore, suffered a leg injury at the end of his first carry – a 15-yard run – in the Golden Wave’s preseason scrimmage against Pontotoc at THS stadium.
He was held out the remainder of the two-quarter session, but said he’ll be ready for Tupelo’s home season opener next Friday against defending 4A state champion Lafayette.
“My cleats got stuck and I took a helmet in my shin,” he said. “It felt numb at first. It feels OK now.”
Following some treatment on the sideline, Shumpert grabbed his helmet and was ready to return.
The coaching staff told him his night was over.
“They said just wait until next Friday,” he said. “That was OK. I knew my time was going to be limited tonight anyway.”
Tupelo scored a late touchdown on a 3-yard run by quarterback Luke Hobson to take a 7-3 win in the scrimmage. The senior completed a 43-yard pass to Matt McIntosh to set up the TD. Drew White added the extra point.
“It was looking rough before then,” said Hobson, who suffered two interceptions, both by the Warriors’ Shaquille Gillard. “On the pass to McIntosh they were in a two zone. They had been running a cover two man. We caught them there.”
Shumpert’s exit made it tougher for Tupelo to throw the deep ball. “The safeties slid back. They weren’t as concern about the run,” Hobson noted.
Pontotoc, under first-year coach Ken Byars, took a 3-0 lead on a 27-yard Jeb Millender field goal with 8 minutes, 42 seconds left.
“I’m proud of our guys,” Byars said. “Tupelo’s got some talent and they brought it to us.”
Golden Wave head coach David Bradberry says his team better be ready to work this week.
“Lafayette’s hitting on all cylinders,” he said. “We’ve got to turn up the intensity, because it’s going to be turned up on us.”