BYHALIA – A young Blue Devil team continues to improve as they notched a 27-13 win against Byhalia (0-3) in the first division game of the season. The win evened Water Valley’s record to 2-2 as they prepare to go on the road to face Independence Thursday night at 7 p.m. in a game that was pushed up a day due to heavy rain forecast for Friday.
The Blue Devils came out strong in the hard-fought contest against Byhalia, scoring on their first possession after starting with a short field following a punt by the Indians. Junior running back Dre McCray punched the ball in the end zone with a 25-yard run. Kicker Jon Surrette drilled the extra point to give Water Valley a seven point lead, a lead they would nurse for half the game before falling behind early in the third quarter.
On their next possession the Indians picked up big gains on four consecutive plays before stalling 23 yards from the end zone. Facing fourth and 12, a bad snap pushed them back another 15 yards and put the Blue Devil offense back on the field. Both teams continued to struggle to move the ball for the remainder of the quarter.
Following a turnover on downs, the Blue Devils started on their own 37-yard line and methodically marched to their 17 yard-line on a drive eclipsed with a pass play from sophomore quarterback C.J. Telford to Marion Morgan for 26 yards. The drive faltered and facing fourth and 25 following a sack and penalty, Telford delivered a nice pass that was dropped in the end zone.
After taking over on downs at their 37 yard-line, the Indians drove to the red zone before the drive stalled when the Blue Devil defense stood strong on fourth and long.
On their next possession the Blue Devils marched to mid-field on one of Telford’s prettiest passes of the season, connecting with Marion Morgan for 17 yards. Two consecutive sacks forced the Blue Devils to punt and the Indians started their final drive of the half from their 35 yard-line. Power runs and a long pass set up a nine-yard quarterback run to the end zone as the Indians put their first points on the board with only seconds remaining in the half. A failed extra-point attempt allowed Water Valley to retain the lead by a point, 7 – 6.
The Blue Devils continued to struggle early in the third quarter, fumbling on their second play of the possession of the half to set up the Indians in the red zone. After they were pushed back few yards, Byhalia connected on a 22-yard pass to take their first lead of the night, 13-7.
Midway through the third quarter the momentum changed when Blue Devil freshman Daylon Vaughn caught a tipped pass for his first interception of the season. The Blue Devils’ drive started on their 30 yard-line and facing third and 15 two plays later, Telford launched a deep pass to McCray for a 75 yard touchdown. A bad snap on the extra point attempt tied the score 13-13 with just over three minutes remaining in the third.
The Indians started the ensuing drive on their 35 yard-line and the Blue Devil momentum continued with a strong defensive effort that forced a three and out. The Blue Devils started their next drive on the Indians’ 45 yard-line and narrowly avoided a turnover on downs after Telford connected with Colby Lafayette, who charged ahead for yards after contact to put his team in the red zone at the 12 yard-line. The Indians were able to keep the Blue Devils from scoring and took over on downs at their seven yard-line.
A stingy Blue Devil defense shut down the Indians on the ensuing drive, forcing a punt that was returned by Marion Morgan to the 10 yard line that would set up the next touchdown. Jaden Morgan pushed ahead for four yards on the first play of the drive, followed by a six yard quarterback keeper by Telford to go ahead 19- 13. The extra point attempt was no good following a high snap, and Water Valley regained the lead, 20 -13.
Jamerious Jenkins recovered a loose ball on the Indians’ next possession, giving the Blue Devils possession on their 45 yard-line with 4:38 remaining in the game. Telford rushed 15 yards on the first play, followed by a 40-yard run by freshman Jaden Morgan to score with just under four minutes remaining. Telford connected to Marion Morgan on the two point conversion to put the Blue Devils up 27 – 13.
The Indians’ final drive of the game ended with an interception by Parker Todd, setting up the Blue Devils on the six yard-line as final seconds of the game ticked off.