Water Valley scored early, Water Valley scored late, and Water Valley scored a lot in between during their 61-6 rout of JZ George last Friday night. Led by a power running game, the Blue Devils (5-1 overall) led 41-0 at halftime, while the Jaguars could only muster a consolation touchdown late in the fourth quarter. Water Valley closes non-division play with just one loss, a positive for Blue Devil Head Coach Brad Embry.
“We played a tough schedule against a lot of high level teams, we’re proud of what we did in the first season as we call it, but now we have to get ready for division play,” said Embry. “I thought we had a good week of practice to prepare for this game, there was no sluggishness after a big loss and that tells you a little bit about our mentality.”
Without injured quarterback E. J. Bounds, the Blue Devils were led under center by Jonathan Kent, K.J. Lee, and Cole Camp, all of whom found the end zone on the ground. Bounds who was injured and missed portions of last weeks game against Charleston, is expected to return for division play next week.
“They all have packages, they all have things they can do,” said Embry. “I thought all three played well. Obviously they haven’t played a lot of quarterback, but they all three could play at some point.” (If Bounds injury limits him going forward.)
Water Valley opened the scoring on the night with a Brandon Bounds eight yard touchdown run on their first possession of the night for an early 7-0 lead. Bounds again struck on the Blue Devils next possession, this time for 49 yards. Kicker Alex Robles missed the extra point, as Water Valley led 13-0 with 2:09 remaining in the first quarter.
“Right now our running backs are really getting better and they’re a deep group,” said Embry. “Our backfield is getting deeper, I could go on and on about them.”
Senior Jeoffrey Gordon, Lee, James Washington, and Camp all recorded rushing touchdowns on the Blue Devils next four possessions, the longest of which was just five plays, giving Water Valley a 41-0 lead with 5:50 remaining before halftime. All four rushing touchdowns were 10 yards or more, with Gordon’s 49 yard being the best of the bunch.
Running back Elijah Rogers opened the scoring in the second half for the Blue Devils with a 22 yard touchdown, before Kent and Corey Isaacs also found the end zone on the ground in the second half. Isaacs 30 yard touchdown run capped off the Blue Devil scoring on the night to give Water Valley a 61-0 lead with 5:25 remaining in the fourth quarter.
J.Z. George was able to find a consolation touchdown late as Kelvin Adams sprinted in from 45 yards out to bring the final score to 61-6.
Defensively the Blue Devils were led by senior linebacker Quinterrio Bailey, who recorded 15 tackles and one forced fumble on the night. In total, 32 Blue Devils recorded a tackle against J.Z. George, with freshman Kirkland Horton totaling eight, the second highest on the team.
Water Valley will host the Mooreville Troopers (3-3 overall) Friday night to open division play, as the Blue Devils look to defend their Region 2-3A championship.
“I don’t think we’re doing exactly what we need to be doing offensively, special teams have gotten better, and defensively we’re not where we want to be, our guys will tell you that,” said Embry. “The teams that are going to make a run in this region and make a run in the playoffs will be the teams that are always getting better. We’re always going to talk about getting better, if you stand still, people are going to catch you.”
Mooreville has bounced back from two blowout losses to open the season, winning three of their last four under Head Coach Kevin Austin. Wins over Hatley, Alcorn Central, and Kossuth give Mooreville some momentum coming into “Death Valley” Friday night, as the Troopers look for their first road victory of the season.
For Embry, division play leaves little room for errors, as the Blue Devils enter Friday night’s meeting as favorites to repeat in the division.
“It’s a must win, if you’re going to win the division, your opener is a must win,” said Embry. “Going into division play this year, I think an undefeated team in division play is going to win it, so that tells you what we need to do.”