By Brad Locke/NEMS Daily Journal
AMORY – While most observers might look at the Itawamba AHS 35-13 win over Amory and see blue-chip tailback Ashton Shumpert’s 301 yards and five touchdowns, but the more impressive performance on Friday might have belonged to the defense.
IAHS held Amory to 310 total yards, its second-lowest total this season.
Entering the game, Amory was averaging 461 yards a game – 231 rushing, 230 passing.
Quarterback Jon David Poss, who’s shredded defenses all season, was 14 of 24 for 145 yards, a touchdown and an interception.
Amory’s offense often beats teams with speed and angles, but IAHS was able to keep up.
“What I think we did better than anything was we tackled well tonight,” Itawamba coach Toby Collums said. “We tackled well, we didn’t get out of position, and if guys caught the ball, we were there to tackle it. We didn’t give them yards after the catch.”
Amory made a couple of pushes but could never move the ball with consistency.
In the second quarter, Amory stuffed Shumpert on a fourth-and-3 play in the red zone, but on the next play Poss was intercepted by Peyton Green.
Amory had only 43 yards of offense in the first half before a two-play, 73-yard scoring drive just before halftime cut the IAHS lead to 21-7. Devin McIntosh threw a 46-yard halfback pass for a touchdown.
That was the Panthers’ first trip into Itawamba territory.
Amory hit on a 70-yard bomb from Poss to Poole to make it 21-13 in the third quarter, and the IAHS offense put pressure on its own defense by losing a pair of fumbles after halftime.
After the second one, Amory reached the Indians’ 8 but stalled.
Collums gave credit to defensive coordinator Clint Hoots and the camaraderie of the defense.
“It’s a group effort. And it goes back to playing assignment football. As of late we’ve been doing a lot of that. We’ve got to keep that up through the last week of the season and going into the playoffs especially.”