Warriors turn close game into rout in second half

Football stockBy Jonathan Wise

Pontotoc Progress

PONTOTOC – For the second straight game, Pontotoc used a dominant second half to defeat a division opponent. That is a sharp contrast to earlier in the year, when the Warriors were in games only to see them gradually slip away late.

Friday they turned a 14-all halftime game against Tishomingo County into a 35-14 rout.

“I think offensively we have improved,” said head coach Scott Brown. “They have gotten a little better each week, and that is making a difference down the stretch. I am proud of the way all the guys have stayed committed. They have could packed it in, but they have continued to come to work every day, and they are reaping the benefits of that.”

The Warriors, who began the year 1-6, have now notched back-to- back wins and stand at 3-6, 2-1 in Division 1-4A play.

A 38-yard pick-six from Tishomingo County’s Brannon Gamble put the Braves up 6-0 early before Pontotoc answered with two scores of their own in the early second quarter. Jon Hall rumbled to the end zone from 18 yards out, and quarterback Will Ard found Jaylon Farr on a crossing pattern for a 29 yard strike.

Late threat

Tishomingo (2-7) threatened late in the second, reaching the Pontotoc five with a first-and-goal, but the Warrior defense came up with an impressive turnover on downs. The Braves forced a three-and-out, however, and punched it in on a 15 yard pass from Blake Hawkins to Gamble with 25 seconds left.

Pontotoc regrouped and didn’t let the late score swing the momentum. Jarren McKinzie took the opening kickoff back 80 yards to put the Warriors up 21-14, and Hall found pay dirt on a 1-yard plunge at the 4:31 mark of the third. An interception by McKinley Windham then set the up a Hall 14-run touchdown run, the senior tailback’s third on the night and fifth in the last two weeks.

“Jon is just a big, tough, durable back,” Brown said. “He doesn’t wear down and is really tough to tackle 15 or 20 times a game.”