Special to the Journal
HORN LAKE – With the contest in doubt Friday, who showed up as usual for the Tupelo Golden Wave football team?
Quinn Tiggs with hard-earned yards on the ground and the quick and opportunistic Wave defense.
Having to bite their nails a bit longer than expected, the Tupelo eventually put down the determined Horn Lake Eagles 17-7 in a Division 1-6A battle.
“We won ugly,” Tupelo head coach Trent Hammond said. “But out defense came through and played lights out.
“And Quinn Tiggs, he’s a hell of a football player.”
With the win on its own merits, Tupelo (9-1, 5-1) clinched a playoff spot. And coupled with South Panola beating Grenada, the Wave are the No. 2 seed for the post-season from 1-6A and will host a first-round game.
Eagles hang around
But the Wave struggled for much of the night to put away the Eagles.
The Tupelo offense showed some life early, going on a 72-yard drive on its second possession. Eventually, Reed Bigham booted a 27-yard field goal for the early lead.
Both teams missed field goals in the second quarter before Tiggs burst up the middle for a 73-yard TD, giving Tupelo the eventual halftime lead of 10-0.
“Tupelo is just so good defensively that we were just trying to get three yards a play,” Horn Lake head coach Brad Boyette said. “We were just trying to get it to our best player as many times as possible.”
That player for the Eagles was Todd Wilson, who in the third quarter was on the receiving end of a 36-yard flea flicker score that cut the lead to 10-7. Horn Lake did pass for 194 yards.
But the Tupelo defense eventually had enough, forcing two late turnovers.
The key one was a strip of the football by Marcus Robinson which was scooped up by Michael Ray, who returned the football 46 yards. Two plays later, Tiggs powered over from the 1-yard line with 4 minutes, 26 seconds to play.
Tiggs rushed for a season-high 179 yards and was even called on to play defense for the first time this season.
Tupelo ends its regular season next week hosting Olive Branch.