By Jonathan Wise
ECRU – North Pontotoc has been a successful program for several years, but there has been one hurdle that they couldn’t seem to clear – the first round of the postseason.
After three straight playoff losses on the road, the Vikings were finally able to play at home Friday, and they proceeded to deliver a dominating 47-21 win over Independence (4-8).
“This is a great feeling, one of the best I have had,” said head coach Brian Sutton. “Like I just told them, ‘They can’t call you a one-and-out team anymore.’
“I’m proud of the kids. It was a team effort tonight and I thought all phases of the game played well. We’re happy to get to play another week, a lot of people will be going home after tonight.”
The Vikings (9-3), the champions of Division 1-3A, looked like a No. 1 seed is supposed to look in the opening round.
They jumped out to a 7-0 lead on 76-yard reverse-pass from Marcus Green to fellow receiver Brooks Shannon on the first play from scrimmage and never looked back. Shannon put up a big night with three touchdowns, and the North defense, after shutting out Mooreville a week ago, forced six turnovers and carried a 47-0 lead into the fourth quarter.
After the opening trick play touchdown, Greg Gambrel intercepted a pass to set the Vikings up at the Indpendence 28. Seven plays later, Trey Jolly found tight end Murphy Daniel from 4 yards to put North up two scores, the first of his four touchdown passes on the night.
Shannon added a 15-yard scoring catch and 90-yard interception return in the second quarter, and Marcus Green got in on the action as well, fumbling a snap with 3:23 to go in the half, but scooping it up and weaving his way 47 yards to pay dirt.
“Brooks has really come on the last few games,” Sutton said of junior speedster. “People have been focusing on Marcus, but if you are going to do that you do better be able to cover (Brooks).”
Gambrel and Green hauled in touchdown catches in the third for the Vikings, while the Wildcats found the end zone on runs from Tyler Bobo and Tavion Newson.