By Sarah Moomaw / firstname.lastname@example.org
The Meridian Star
It'll be a home opener to remember for the Trojan seniors as Northeast Lauderdale ran past Neshoba Central, 40-14, on Friday night.
The win moves Northeast to even on the season, at 2-2, while Neshoba – from Class 5A – is still winless in 2013, 0-4.
"I'm proud of our guys," Trojans head coach Curt Blackburn said. "We bent, but we didn't break right here at the end ... [but] 14 points, you can't complain about that."
The Trojans racked up 387 rushing yards as a team, but mostly thanks to senior LaDale Cockrell, who was filling in for injured running back Stevie Sanders.
"Crockrell stepped up and had a great game," Blackburn said. "That was a very good thing for us ... I'm glad somebody [stepped up]."
Cockrell finished the night with 198 rushing yards on eight carries for three touchdowns, putting up 172 on five runs in the first half.
He got the game rolling, by running up the right sideline for his first score on the first play of the game. Neshoba had bit themselves with two 5-yard penalties before the snap, pushing the ball just shy of midfield. The 58-yard run put the Trojans up, 6-0, 19 seconds into the game.
"We saw on flim where they didn't have anybody to the single receiver side and we knew we could take advantage of our speed," Blackburn said.
The game appeared close as the Rockets retaliated with a touchdown before the end of the quarter. With 4:12 left on the clock, Damien Seales ran in a 8-yard score take the lead, 8-6.
The lead would be short lived as Northeast found the end zone twice more in the final minutes of the first quarter to set the tempo for the rest of the game.
Following its score, Neshoba kicked short but the Trojans still made them pay.
Less than 30 seconds later, Cockrell used his speed again by rushing down the right sideline for a 39-yard touchdown. The run put the Trojans back on top at 12-8 with 3:57 left in the first quarter.
The Trojans' third touchdown of the quarter was another doubt-digit rush, but this time, on the feet of quarterback Troy Neely for 37 yards. The score put Northeast up 18-9 with 24 seconds left on the clock.
The second quarter didn't see a score change until the last minute and half of play, despite a 62-yard run by Cockrell at the halfway mark. However, he found the end zone on Northeast's next drive for a 12-yard run and 26-8 lead and halftime score.
After a scoreless third quarter, both teams added tallies in the fourth quarter. Northeast opened the fourth quarter by capitalizing on a Neshoba fumble. Trenton Smith recovered the ball on the Rockets 48-yard line. Neely ended the drive with a 33-yard rushing touchdown.
Neshoba negated the score with a touchdown of their own, but it didn't hold as Robert Collins found the final end zone of the night after a 43-yard run to make it 40-14 with 8:26 on the clock.
In Week 5, the Trojans will play a private-public battle as the head to Lamar School, while Neshoba gets a week to regroup with a bye.