FULTON – The fourth-ranked Itawamba AHS Indians pulled out all the stops against third-ranked Lafayette County.
A fake punt and wide receiver pass were among the specialty plays that lifted the Indians past the Commodores, 25-19, at the brand new Indian Stadium on Friday night.
“Just a bunch of guys making plays for us,” Itawamba head coach Jamie Mitchell said. “Spreading the ball around is what we’re going to have to do.”
With the win, the Indians improved to 3-0 on the season.
Friday’s loss was the first for the Class 4A Commodores (3-1), who play in a different division than the Division 1-4A Indians.
The Indians jumped on top first as quarterback Maikhail Miller worked his team downfield through the air on the game’s opening possession. He was 7 of 8 passing on the drive for 61 yards and closed it out with a 3-yard touchdown pass to Devonta Jackson.
What should not go unmentioned is that the drive was kept alive on a fake punt, where Asian Ruff found Dillon Mitchell for a gain of 10 yards.
Following a Glynn Brown 37-yard field goal to start the second quarter, IAHS reached into its bag of tricks and called for Miller to swing a pass out to receiver Kevin Marks, who was standing behind the line of scrimmage near the Lafayette sideline. After catching the ball, Marks turned and fired a pass downfield to Jackson, who ran the rest of the way for a 60-yard score.
‘Really struggling’ with run
“We’re going to have to do those kinds of things on offense,” Mitchell said about his team mixing it up on offense. “We’re going to have to be very, very multiple.
“We’re really struggling running the football. We got a big-time tailback, we just can’t get on track.
“We didn’t block tonight.”
That 60-yard trick play for Itawamba was huge, as Lafayette quarterback Jeremy Liggins had just hooked up with Anfernee Gooch for a 63-yard touchdown reception that pulled the Commodores to within five, 11-6, with 11:22 remaining in the second period.
Overall, Miller was 15 for 27 passing for 220 yards and two touchdowns, while his opponent, Liggins, was 11 for 24 for 204 yards and a score. Both quarterbacks were picked off once.
“I’m scared to say it, but if there’s a better one out there … He is unconscious,” Mitchell said about his quarterback.
Miller found Deshawn McGaughy for a 7-yard catch and score with 4:29 to go in the third.
Lafayette running back Sam Booker ran 17 yards to paydirt to close the gap to 25-13 with 19 seconds left in the quarter.
Liggins drove his team from its own 34-yard line to a touchdown with less than 2:30 to play in the game. He capped off the drive with a 9-yard run to pull the Commodores within one touchdown from tying the Indians.
IAHS, behind a 42-yard jaunt by McGaughy, would then run out the clock to keep its perfect record intact.
“We won’t play many teams with better skill players than these guys,” said Lafayette head coach Anthony Hart.
John Wilbert/NEMS Daily Journal