By Tony Tsoukalas / Sports Writer
The Meridian Star
Quitman High School set a school-record for wins Friday night, beating Columbia 49-14 and moving to 12-1 on the season.
“It was a great performance on the night,” Quitman head coach Steve Bynum said. “We played well on both offense and defense. I'm really proud of the way our guys played tonight, they did a super job.”
The contest was never in doubt for Quitman. After stopping the Wildcats on their first possession, Franklin Jones and Panthers got to work. Jones marched the Panthers down the field 60 yards on seven plays, ending in a 5-yard touchdown run from the senior quarterback.
On the Panthers next possession, it only took the them four plays to find the end zone, as sophomore running back Josh Davis did most of the work on a 52-yard run to make the score 12-0 at the end of one quarter.
Quitman was just getting started.
Panthers defensive back Jeffrey Duncan broke open the score on Columbia's next possession, stepping in front of a pass and returning it 24 yards to the end zone to put Quitman up 19-0. Jones added another touchdown on the ground, this one from 9 yards out later in the quarter, and the Panthers rolled in to the break with a commanding 27-0 lead.
Jones finished the game with 12 carries for 132 yards and two touchdowns on the ground and matched the total in the air, passing 6 of 6 with 132 yards with a touchdown in the air.
“I felt real good, except my hand was kind of cold.,” Jones said. “We had some plays that we worked a lot on in practice, and when you work on them as much as we did, you get real good at it.”
A lot of Jones’ success stemmed from the attention the Wildcat defense put on Davis. Despite a stacked box, Davis still was able to rush for 76 yards and a touchdown on nine carries.
“It's a great help to have him back there with me,” Franklin said of his running back. “I don't have to do as much on offense and it's not all on me. He does a great job, and defenses have to focus on him too.”
Due to the blowout, the Panthers were able to rest their starters during the second half. Quitman will need all the rest it can afford, as the Panthers will travel to Forrest County AHS next week.
“It was pretty good to get that rest,” Jones said. “We didn't get any injuries, and that's important, because you can't lose anyone in the playoffs.”
After such a dominant win, Panthers players are starting to believe this could be their year. With such a dominating win Friday, it is really hard to blame them.
“I don't feel like we can be stopped,” Jones said. “We are just going to keep focused and keeping working on things to get better for next week.”