Blue Devils Remain Undefeated In Region Play, Face Cougars In Big Game Friday Night

A stingy Blue Devil defense held the Holly Springs Hawks to two touchdowns in the 34-14 win last Friday night. – Photos by Dillon Day/The South Reporter

HOLLY SPRINGS – In a game that could determine the Region 2-3A title, the Blue Devils will host North Panola Friday night. Both teams are coming into the contest with  three straight division wins. North Panola picked up a five-point win over Independence, 26 – 21, last week and the Blue Devils (4-2, 3-0) trounced the Holly Springs Hawks 34 – 14.
Water Valley’s road win came as the Hawks mustered two touchdowns, one in their first drive of the game in a possession that started on the 45 yard-line. Mixing up the ground game with a long completion, the Hawks scored to take the early eight-point lead following a successful two-point attempt.
The Hawks’  final touchdown came in the last minute of the game as Water Valley had a 26-point lead and head coach Brad Embry pulled most of the starters to allow playing time for his backups.
The Blue Devil offense didn’t get cranked up until late in the third quarter following a three-and-out stop by their defense. Starting on their 49 yard-line, the Blue Devils marched to the red zone with three long runs by Jaden Morgan. A four-yard run by Que Carothers and a first down by quarterback C. J. Telford set up the final play for the score as Jaden Morgan marched into the end zone. The PAT kick by Jon Surrette was good as the Blue Devils put up their first points of the night to trail, 8 – 7.
The final score in the half came as coach Embry worked the clock, calling two time-outs as the Blue Devil defense came up with a big stop that forced a punt.  Following a series of short runs by quarterback Alford, Dre McCray pushed to the 19 yard-line with a big gain before the drive appeared to falter. Pushed back and facing fourth and long, Alford launched a perfect pass from the 30 yard-line that was caught in the end zone by Colby Lafayette. Another PAT by Surrette sailed through the uprights and the Blue Devils led for the first time in the game, 14-8, with 28 seconds remaining in the half.
The Blue Devils opened the second half with a  51-yard drive to go up 20 – 8 as Jaden Morgan ran 43 yards to the 18 yard-line before carrying the ball into the end zone three plays later. A botched snap kept Surrette from converting the PAT.
Down by 12 and struggling to get their run game going on their next possession, the Hawks went to the air with two incomplete passes as the Blue Devil defense forced another three-and-out
The Blue Devil’s offensive momentum continued on their third drive of the quarter that started with a 16-yard carry by Carothers as the team advanced to the red zone. A series of penalties backed up the Blue Devils almost 20 yards and it appeared the drive could be over as Water Valley went for it on fourth and long.  A roughing the passer call extended the drive with 15 yards marched off by the umpire back in the right direction and a fresh set of downs. A late hit by a Hawks’ defensive back brought more penalty yards that put the Blue Devils back into the red zone, allowing Jaden Morgan to score on a four-yard run. Surrette’s PAT was good and the Blue Devils’ lead increased to  27 – 8 with three minutes remaining in the third quarter.
The Hawks’ offense put together a long drive as the fourth quarter started, but stalled with a big Blue Devil goal line stand at the four yard-line.
With the turnover on downs, the Blue Devils wasted no time moving the chains with big runs by Jaden Morgan and Carothers and a completion from Alford to Sasa Freeman that set up a three-yard touchdown run by McCray for the Blue Devil’s final points of the game with just under eight minutes remaining.
The late touchdown by the Hawks ended the contest with the Blue Devil’s 20-point victory.

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