The Golden Wave had just recovered a Trojans fumble.
Seconds later, the good fortune turned to misfortune when tailback McKenzie Tyler fumbled the back. An alert Marquise Coleman scooped up the bobble and rambled 62 yards to paydirt to help propel New Hope to a 28-17 victory.
Coleman’s TD gave the Trojans a 21-10 lead.
New Hope all but sealed the win five minutes later when defensive back Raymond Walters returned an interception of a Luke Hobson pass 33 yards for a score to give his club a 28-10 advantage.
“We were fortunate to get the win; Tupelo’s a good team,” New Hope Michael Bradley said. “The big plays on defense were the big difference. The ball bounced our way tonight.”
Prior to Walters’ interception, Tupelo had marched inside the New Hope 20 but missed on a 34-yard field goal try by Hobson left with 8 minutes, 20 seconds remaining.
A field goal would have cut the Trojans’ lead to eight points.
Hobson, a sophomore backup to Nathan Wallace, scored on a 1-yard run for the Golden Wave’s final points.
New Hope used its “Wildcat” formation to set up its go-ahead score in the first half, a 13-yard sprint up the middle on a draw by tailback Terrance Dentry.
The touchdown gave the Trojans a 14-10 halftime lead.
Darius Petty had a 29-yard run to open the drive after taking a deep snap. Dentry followed on the next play with a 15-yard scamper out of the same formation.
New Hope took a 7-0 lead with 2:51 left in the first quarter on a 2-yard by quarterback Zak Thrasher.
Tupelo answered on its third possession when Hobson took the team on an 8-play, 66-yard march. Hobson’s 27-yard pass to Jeremy Foster on a third-and-9 setup the Wave’s TD, a 14-yard run by Tyler with 11:45 remaining in the second quarter.
Hobson kicked a 34-yard field goal with 4:10 left in the first half to give Tupelo a 10-7 lead.
Bradley said New Hope answering Tupelo's field goal with a touchdown was crucial before halftime.
“To hold them to a field goal and then drive down and score before the half was a huge momentum shift,” he said.
Tupelo outgained the Trojans 266 yards to 234 yards. Of that total, the Golden Wave rushed for 135 and passed for 131. Tyler paced the Tupelo ground game on 87 yards on 21 carries.