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WATER VALLEY – On Friday, Sept. 22, a perfect fall evening, the Water Valley Blue Devils hosted the J.Z. George Jaguars from Carrollton for Homecoming 2023. The Blue Devils made quick work of the Jaguars and found themselves up 33 to 0 midway through the first quarter, 53 to 0 at the half, and emptied the bench for a 67 to 16 final score to secure their second victory of 2023.
The Jaguars won the coin toss and deferred their option to the Second Half and the Blue Devil kickoff return unit set the tone early as junior Anthony Butler took the opening kickoff 45 yards to give the Blue Devils excellent starting field position. Senior Running Back Jaden “JRoc” Morgan took the first play of scrimmage 23 yards untouched for the score led by the offensive Line of Jack Woodard, Donalvin Wilson, Hayden Schurr, Ezaryon Riley, and Jake Griffin. Morgan would have four touchdowns on just five total touches on the evening and 225 All-Purpose Yards. Sophomore place kicker Gabe Butler added the Point After Touchdown (PAT) out of the hold of Tyler Richardson and snap of Reid Burress.
Water Valley’s kickoff unit, who has shown marked improvement since the beginning of the season, pinned the Jaguars Offense deep thanks to a physical solo tackle by Wilson. The Blue Devils forced a quick three-and-out, and Wilson blocked the punt which was recovered for an 18-yard defensive touchdown by senior defensive back Ty Pritchard. Another quick three-and-out by the Jaguars gave the Blue Devils the ball at their own 46-yard line and Morgan again went untouched for a 54-yard rushing touchdown. Before the fans could blink it was Blue Devils 33 and the Jags 0 midway through the first quarter of play.
The second quarter was more of the same highlighted by another Morgan rushing touchdown, this time 62-yards out, sophomore running back Zae Bradford found the end zone twice with scores of four yards and 14 yards, and a Richardson to Dylan Moore 21 yard passing touchdown.
Pritchard would add a second defensive touchdown, this time a 53-yard interception return for the score. Butler would add four more PATs.
The self-proclaimed “Wrecking Crew” Defense starters held the Jaguars to just 70 total yards and zero points before being sidelined at the half to get younger Blue Devils some varsity experience. Defensively, Water Valley was paced by junior defensive lineman Ezaryon Riley, linebacker J.D. Gooch, and defensive back Isaiah Webb, each with five total tackles.
In the second half, all Blue Devils who were healthy and activated received playing time as the two teams traded two scores. Morgan scored on an 86-yard kickoff return for a Touchdown, freshman quarterback Tre Adams scored on an 18-yard rushing touchdown, and sophomore wide out Christian Griffin scored a two-point conversion rush on a speed sweep.
Freshman Linebacker Miles Bufford paced the young Devils with three total tackles and one for a loss. Offensively, the Blue Devils finished with 301 rushing yards and 94 Passing Yards for 393 total yards while limiting J.Z. George to 194 total yards.
“Great job taking care of business doing what you were supposed to tonight and blocking out all distractions this week,” first-year head coach Clint Faust told the team after the game. “We will evaluate the film of the second half and see if any young guys deserve more reps and more playing time. Enjoy this win for 48 hours and then refocus as we are back on the road against a 6A foe next week at Saltillo.”
This will be the first time in school history the Blue Devils will take on a 6A opponent as they will travel to Saltillo to face the Tigers on Friday, Sept. 29 at 7 p.m.