Wildcats use run game to earn key division victory

Football stockBy Paul Jones

Special to the Journal

CUMBERLAND – Playing in one of the toughest districts in north Mississippi, Calhoun City head coach Perry Liles knew his squad had to run the ball with success Friday night on the road. The Wildcats did just that en route to a key 42-31 victory over East Webster in Region 4-2A.

The Wildcats moved to 5-3 overall and 2-0 in the region and led by senior tailback Cartin McBride were able to churn out 289 yards on the ground to pull away in the second half

“As any game goes, especially in this district, you got to be able to run the ball,” said Liles. “You got to be able to throw it some and we did that, too, but we really got the ground game going in the second half. I thought that was a big key to this football game.”

McBride had 17 carries for 211 yards and three touchdowns while Lavarious Varnado added a pair of rushing touchdowns for the Wildcats. McBride also had a critical interception in the fourth quarter to help hamper the Wolverines’ comeback attempt.

“He’s a winner,” said Liles. “He is nursing a shoulder injury from last week. But he works hard in the weight room and we knew he would push through it because he’s just a winner.”

After a scoreless first quarter, both offenses got on the board in the second quarter. The Wildcats struck first thanks to a 79-yard scoring burst down the left sideline by Cartin McBride.

Limited chances

McBride’s run was just one of three plays that covered 10 yards or more in the first half for either team. East Webster managed one of those to tie the Wildcats at 7-7 with Jack Wilson’s 23-yard scoring toss to Marques Reives.

However, Calhoun City took the momentum into the half thanks to Lavarious Varnado’s one-yard scoring plunge with 37 seconds left in the second quarter. East Webster managed just two first downs and 98 yards in the first half while the Wildcats mustered just five first downs and 159 yards even with McBride’s long run.

“The score doesn’t indicate how hard our kids played,” said East Webster head coach Doug Wilson. “We got better tonight with some things and our young kids are getting better.”

There are some things we need to do to win these next two games. But Calhoun City is a good ballclub and a big team and I am proud of our guys for competing tonight.”