By Jonathan Wise
PONTOTOC – The potent North Pontotoc offense could never find its footing on a rainy Friday night, but the Viking defense turned in its second straight excellent performance in a 14-7 road win over rival Pontotoc.
North allowed a mere one first down in the opening half, and their stoppers went on to seal the win when sophomore linebacker Dee Woods intercepted Pontotoc quarter- back Will Ard near the Vikings goal line on the game’s final play.
“We are not a very good football team offensively when it’s wet,” said North Pontotoc head coach Brian Sutton. “We rely a lot on the short passing game, and this weather neutralizes our speed. Everybody has to play in it though. Our defense played great all night.
“Like they say, offense sells tickets, but defense wins championships.”
The Vikings (3-2) took an early 7-0 lead with 1:44 remaining in the first quarter on a 3-yard run from tailback Jeremy Wilkes, set up by a long connection from Trey Jolly to Micah Sparks and another 16-yard Wilkes run.
North threatened again just before halftime, but the Warriors came up with a big fumble recovery on their own 21, keeping the deficit at a touchdown going into the half.
On their opening possession of the second half the Vikings struck again. Jolly found standout Marcus Green for a 60-yard touchdown to put the visitors up 14.
“I think that was the biggest play of the night,” said Sutton. “To come out of the locker room and go up two scores on a night like this was big.”
The Warriors (1-4) refused to go quietly, however. A 30-yard rumble for a score by tailback Jon Hall closed the gap to 14-7 with 7:54 left.
After forcing a North three-and-out, the Warriors got the ball in prime position on the North 18 but were unable to come away with points.
“I am proud of the way we didn’t quit,” said Pontotoc coach Scott Brown. “When we were down 14-0 we could have laid down, but they kept fighting and gave us chances at the end.”