By Paul Jones
Special to the Journal
ABERDEEN – Aberdeen head coach Mark Bray must have felt like he was watching a replay Friday night. The opponent was different but the end result was quite familiar as the past couple of weeks.
Holding a lead again late in the third quarter, Aberdeen once again fell in the closing seconds and dropped a 30-28 decision to Corinth. Aberdeen’s Josh Willams connected with Sammie Burroughs with 1:31 left in the game but the Bulldogs failed to tie the game on the 2-point attempt.
“They threw a pass, and we tipped it and knocked it down,” Corinth coach Doug Jones said. “Our defense stepped up and made a play when our backs were against the wall.”
Corinth (5-1) recovered the ensuing onsides kick and ran out the clock to hand Aberdeen (2-4) its third straight loss.
Aberdeen’s failed 2-point try wasn’t the only time it had Corinth against the wall. The Bulldogs built an early 10-point lead, but the Warriors showed poise in the comeback.
“We made some mistakes early, but we battled through it. These young men did a great job, and I’m extremely proud of our football team,” Jones said.
Bray felt like Aberdeen let one slip away.
“We played good enough to win the game again,” he said. “But we just didn’t get it done again. The kids know, though, that we still have a lot left in the season and they are young. They are not going to quit and we saw that again tonight. They know the schedule we are playing is going to prepare us for the region.”
Aberdeen faced only Class 4A teams in non-region play and open Class 3A region play next week at Nettleton.
Also familiar Friday night was how the Bulldogs reached the end zone. Burroughs also scored on an interception return and kickoff return for scores. Then Williams had a pair of touchdown passes as well.
“Sammie and Josh are just playmakers,” Bray said. “They’ve done it before and they made big plays again.”
Aberdeen wasted little time getting on the scoreboard and reached the end zone on the third play from scrimmage. Williams connected with sophomore Jerrick Orr for a 57-yard touchdown pass for an early 7-0 Bulldog lead.
But the Aberdeen offense would struggle the rest of the half and it was actually the defense that produced the other first-half points. Leading 7-3, Burroughs returned an interception 74 yards to boost the Bulldogs’ advantage to 13-3 midway through the second quarter.
Corinth’s offense, however, kept plugging away on the ground and cut the lead to 13-10 at the half thanks to Kendrick Williams’ 48-yard touchdown run.
“Our offensive line did a good job of controlling the line of scrimmage,” Jones said.
Williams got injured early in the second half but Kyoshi Agnew filled in nicely. Agnew finished with 15 carries for 130 yards and two touchdowns, and his TD late in the third quarter gave the Warriors the lead for good.
“Linebacker play is killing us,” Bray said. “We are forcing turnovers but giving up a lot of runs up the middle. But again, it is what it is, and they’re still learning.”