Special to the Journal
FORT WALTON BEACH, Fla. - It took Tishomingo County's football team seven hours to travel from its campus in Northeast Mississippi to Choctawhatchee High's Joe Etheridge Stadium for Friday night's interstate battle.
It took Choctaw all of one quarter to put the game away.
Choctaw (1-3) scored on its first three possessions to take a 21-0 lead midway through the first quarter and never looked back, cruising to a 56-7 win over Tishomingo County (3-3).
Quarterback Garrison Floyd accounted for three scores while running backs Spencer Effatt and John Hicks added two TDs each in the first half, giving the Indians a 49-0 halftime lead in a game where they were never seriously challenged.
"We knew if we worked hard, good things would happen," said Floyd, who ran for two scores and passed for another. "We just came out tonight and played better than we have so far this year. It felt good."
Floyd started the Indians' blowout less than 90 seconds into the game, connecting with wideout Gaston Rackard on a 19-yard touchdown pass. When Dominique Jordan added the PAT, the Indians led 7-0 with 10:32 to go in the first quarter. More importantly, the tone was set for the rest of the night.
Hicks, who rushed 16 times for 166 yards, scored on a 17-yard run in the first quarter and a 2-yard plunge in the second, while Effatt added scoring runs from 11 yards out and two yards away.
At the half, Choctaw held a 264-44 advantage it total yardage, and Tishomingo had registered just two first downs.
"It's good to get a win," said Floyd. "We have worked hard, and it paid off this week."
Tishomingo County broke into the scoring column on the first drive of the third quarter when sophomore QB Blake Hawkins connected with Chandler Dexter on a 12-yard scoring strike. Gable Butler's PAT cut the lead to 49-7 with 9:29 to go in the third quarter. TC's momentum was short-lived, however, as the home-standing Indians leaned on the running of Hicks to work on the clock. Choctaw's Chase Whitehead finished the scoring with a four-yard TD with just over five minutes to go in the game.
Choctaw will remain at home to host district foe Niceville Friday.