For the first time this season head coach Nate Ballard and Russell Christian Academy were tested this season. Despite falling into an early 12-0 hole against Kemper Academy, the Warriors passed their first real challenge of the season, knocking off the Rams 62-22 on the road to move to 9-0 on the season.
Dustin Davis connected on an 80-yard touchdown pass to Dylan McFarland and a three-yard touchdown pass to Cole Thomas, as the Rams jumped out to an early 12-0 lead over Russell Christian.
However, the Warriors would come storming back, as Ashton Temple returned a kickoff 77 yards later in the quarter to bring the score to 12-7.
Russell Christian would go on to score the next 22 points, as quarterback Jacob Howse found Kyle Russell on a 25-yard touchdown pass to give followed by a 30-yard touchdown pass to John Epps.
Running back Arik Washington would run in a 40-yard touchdown to give the Warriors a 29-12 lead, before Davis found Austin McAdory for a touchdown to bring the score to 29-18 after the first quarter.
The Warriors would score 21 unanswered point in the second quarter to go up 50-18 at halftime, as the Warriors rolled to the win.
Howse passed the ball an unusual 18 times for the Warriors, completing 11 passes for 253 yards and four touchdowns. Ballard said he is working to utilize the passing game more to get his team ready for situations where they might need to air it out later on during the season.
“We feel like it may have been this week against Kemper, or it may be in the playoffs,” Nate Ballard said of his passing attack. “We have been really preparing for it, because we might need to have it.”
Arik Washington also had a big day for the Warriors, racking up 135 yards and two touchdowns on eight carries on the ground while also hauling in two receptions for 108 yards and a touchdown in the air.
“Arik (Washington), worked really hard this summer,” Ballard said. “The last couple of games, he has come on really strong for us.”
On defense the Warriors were led by Temple, who had two interceptions on the night. Epps, Jacob Stephens and Dylan Joles all had six tackles for Russell Christian as well.
Russell will play Calhoun Academy next week with a district title on the line.
"This is probably the biggest game in school history," head coach Nate Ballard said. "This is the first time we have had a chance to win a district title, so this game is huge."
— Tony Tsoukalas
Wayne Academy 6
The Raiders scored four times in the second quarter to turn their MAIS Region 4-AA into a rout on the road Friday.
Lamar led 7-0 after the first quarter as Corey Skinner scored on a 7-yard run. Then in the decisive second quarter, Barrett Dudley hit Danny Weisner on a 46-yard pass and Chase Davis on a 44-yard pass. Lee Martin added scores of 4 yards on a run and 36 yards on an interception return.
Dudley completed 12 of 16 passes for 181 yards, while Jonathan Young had eight tackles as Lamar allowed just 73 yards to the 1-8 Jaguars, who fell to 0-2.
The Raiders, who are now 7-2 and 1-0 in the division, host Sylva-Bay Academy in another division game next week.
— Jamie Wachter
Neshoba Central 7
Trailing by six and the clock running out, the Rockets came up with a big play when they needed it most.
K.D. Monroe blocked a Rams punt with about two minutes left Friday and Patrick Burrage recovered in the end zone to tie it, and when Caleb Crenshaw connected on the extra point, Neshoba evened its Division 2-5A mark at 2-2.
The Rockets, who are 4-4 overall and right in the mix of the playoff hunt, host Ridgeland next week. The Titans are 5-3 and 3-1 in the division after beating Callaway 31-20.
— Jamie Wachter