By Mack Gordon
COLDWATER – The Water Valley Blue Devils (5-2, 2-0) pulled off an impressive last minute comeback last Thursday night to earn an important division win over the Independence Wildcats (5-3, 1-1). With 3:31 left in the fourth quarter the Blue Devils had the ball at their own 20 yard line trailing 17-14. Water Valley put together a nine-play, 80-yard touchdown drive that was capped off with a six-yard touchdown run from Jacob Truss to give the Blue Devils the lead with 26 seconds left. The 21-17 win kept Water Valley undefeated in division play and in a tie for first with Senatobia.
“We’ve got guys hurt, hospitalized, going off on ambulances, I’m proud that we kept fighting and persevered,” Head Coach Brad Embry said about the 21-17 win. “Huge win, last week was big, this week was bigger, next week will be even bigger, they get bigger as you go,” Coach Embry added on the importance of the win.
Truss led the Blue Devils with 217 yards passing and one touchdown with two interceptions. Truss also had 111 yards rushing with two rushing touchdowns. Darius Tolbert led the Blue Devils with 114 yards receiving and one touchdown.
The Wildcats kicked off the scoring with a 12-yard touchdown pass from James Rodgers to Trey Newson to give Independence a 7-0 lead with 7:46 left in the first quarter. Water Valley responded several minutes later with a 33-yard touchdown run from Truss to tie the game up at seven with 56 seconds remaining in the first quarter.
After a couple unsuccessful offensive drives the Blue Devils found the endzone again with 2:33 left in the second quarter, as Truss connected with Darius Tolbert on a 22-yard touchdown pass to give the Blue Devils a 14-7 lead. Independence responded quickly with a 70-yard touchdown strike from Rodgers to Newson to tie the game up at 14 with 1:35 left in the first half.
Mother Nature joined the game near the beginning of the third quarter and stayed until midway through the fourth quarter. The rain had a big impact on the game as neither offense could get anything going for the entire third quarter and a majority of the fourth quarter.
Independence was able to break through late in the fourth with a 30-yard field goal from Yahir Villafana to give the Wildcats a 17-14 lead with 3:31 left in the ballgame.
The Blue Devils nine-play 80 yard scoring drive capped off by a six yard run from Jacob Truss would be the game winner with 26 seconds left in the ballgame. The win improved Water Valley to (5-2, 2-0) on the season.
Water Valley will host Holly Springs (2-6, 0-2) this Friday night at Bobby Clark Field. The Blue Devils are tied for first in Region 2-3A with Senatobia.
“We’ll get an extra day to work on Holly Springs (because of Thursday night game), so that’s a positive,” Coach Embry noted on preparing for Holly Springs.