TUPELO – One of the first things Lamar Aldridge pointed out about the performance of the Tupelo Golden Wave on Friday was turnovers.
Tupelo had none.
In a season in which that statistic has hobbled potential success, the Wave finally turned it into an rally, running over the DeSoto Central Jaguars 42-0 in a Division 1-6A victory.
“I thought we played hard, and with no turnovers,” said Aldridge, the Tupelo interim head coach for this contest in place of the suspended Eric Collins. “The defense kept good field position for us.
“I’m glad for the kids to have some success, and we got a lot of people in the game tonight.”
With the whirlwind of off-field distractions this week, and season-long disappointments, the Tupelo (2-6, 2-3) performance on the field was certainly a ray of sunshine. And perhaps the most feel-good and surreal moment of the contest was the Wave’s third touchdown, which happened in the second quarter.
Tupelo was lined up for a 25-yard field goal, but the kick never got above waist-high and shot into the blockers and defenders at the line of scrimmage. Wave senior lineman John Sadler wound up with the ball, running untouched into the end zone for the score.
“I was down on my block and they kicked the ball,” said a grinning Sadler after the contest. “The ball just seemed to land right in my arms.
“I looked down, and then took off with it. I needed that for tonight. On the sideline, they were saying they couldn’t believe the biggest dude on the team scored.”
Sadler’s touchdown gave the Wave a 21-0 lead late in the second quarter, and seemed to signal that Tupelo could relax and celebrate homecoming with a win.
“That score was a plus for the team,” Aldridge said. “I knew the ball was live, and it was the right call.”
Tupelo opened the scoring late in the first period with a 17-yard scoring pass to Matt Clark from Luke Hobson. In the second period, the Wave also scored on a 7-yard run by McKenzie Tyler, and a 61-yard punt return by Skyye Jones for a 28-0 halftime lead.
In the third quarter, Tupelo padded its lead, beginning with an 8-yard run by Jeremy Foster. Ternerious Montgomery then capped the scoring with a 33-yard run.
The Jaguars (3-6, 0-5) never seriously threatened, with their deepest advance to their own 49-yard line in the first quarter, through the first three quarters of play.
David Wheeler/NEMS Daily Journal