Special to the Journal
HERNANDO – Whether it was a case of rust after a two-week layoff from live football, the Tupelo Golden Wave opened a bit sluggish Friday in their Division 1-6A opener.
Then the Wave offense hitched up their pants for one of their best efforts of the season, helping Tupelo to a 41-7 victory over the Hernando Tigers.
“I’m glad we scored 41 points,” Tupelo head coach Trent Hammond said. “We finished some drives, and that was the biggest thing.”
Hernando (3-2, 0-1) featured a patient power running offense, and Tupelo (5-0, 1-0) had trouble finding a workable tempo through the first quarter.
But towards the end of the period, the Wave began a 66-yard march. Quinn Tiggs ripped off a 25-yard effort on the drive, which was capped by a Rodney McIntosh 9-yard run the first play of the second quarter.
Hernando cracked Tupelo’s usually stingy defense on the next possession, marching 68 yards. With the aid of a face mask penalty, Leon Cunningham turned the corner for a 34-yard scoring run to tie the score at 7-7.
But the Tupelo offense answered. Quarterback Daniel Bristow completed three key passes on the next two drives before halftime. That set up a pair of 1-yard scoring runs by Alyjawon Johnson and Jarvis Wilson as the Wave left the field with a 20-7 lead.
“Obviously, they played a very good football game tonight,” Hernando head coach Anthony Jenkins said. “In the first half, we had chances to get things going and we didn’t.”
Tupelo was sharp in the second half, scoring on its first three possessions.
First, a 61-yard drive was finished by a Reed Taylor 15-yard run. Later in the third period, Tiggs scored on a 3-yard dive.
And in his first series at quarterback for the season, Alex Norwood added a 5-yard TD early in the fourth quarter.
Tupelo’s page in region play turns to two home games, beginning by hosting Grenada Friday.
For Tupelo, Bristow was a solid 9 of 14 for 144 yards through the air, while Tiggs chipped in 68 yards rushing.