The Meridian Star
The only thing able to stop the Philadelphia Tornadoes during Friday night's season opener was the clock.
Head coach Teddy Dyess said after the first score it was pretty clear they were ready to play, but in all fairness, he didn't expect the night's 49-0 blowout at South Delta.
"It's a good win for us, a long road trip into a hostile environment and taking care of business, I'm really pleased with that," he said. "I thought our kids played really well."
Last season, the Bulldogs were 10-2 to Philadelphia's 13-1, setting up for a close game in theory. But Dyess said his team excuted plays and took control of the game to the point that South Delta had to make in-game adjustments on defense.
"We made them want to go and do something else [on defense]," he said. "For us to go into their place and completely dominate the game, I thought was huge for our kids and our conference [games] moving forward."
But with seven touchdowns and quarterback Romon Gray connecting on eight of 14 passes, not much seemed to work in the Bulldogs game. Jacardus Griffin helped lead the force, rushing for three touchdowns in the first half.
Additionally, the Tornadoes converted 26 first downs to the South Delta's four.
Gray's night started with a 60-yard pass to Kaylon Gray for the first score with 10:52 remaining in the first quarter.
Griffin recorded his first touchdown of the night, punching through the defense for a 1-yard rush and a 14-0 lead. As the second half dwindled away, he found the endzone twice more before Kenshon Henderson ran for a four-yard score with 46 seconds left in the half, making it 35-0.
In the third period, Gray threw a 17-yard pass to TJ Hudson in the endzone. Dontae Poe capped the night with a nine-yard rush and 4:48 to play. Kicker Josh Smith was 7-for-7 on PATs.
Philadelphia will open their home slate on Friday again McClain at 7 p.m.
"Supposedly you improve more from game 1 to game 2 and that's our biggest goal is to improve," Dyess said. "I mean, there's always things you've got to work on but we'll figure that out and go forth on Monday."
Union 24, Nanih Waiya 12
The Union Yellowjackets are feeling a little bit more comfortable in their skins after a 24-12 win at Nanih Waiya.
"I feel fortunate to win that first game anytime," head coach Brad Breland said.
This season, Union is breaking in a new quarterback in senior Tre Bogan, moving over from receiving duties.
In his first big game, Breland said Bogan led the team well and showed improvement.
"Didn't have as many turnovers and ran the team pretty well. He'll get better every week," Breland said. "I think he's going to be fine."
He made his presence known early, by carrying the ball for a one-yard touchdown to knot the game at 6-6 in the first quarter.
Adrian Campbell put the Yellowjackets up a score with a 70-yard run just before half time.
In the third quarter, Laviel Wells caught a 30-yard pass from Bogan in the endzone for an 18-6 lead. Wells then ran for a 25-yard score and finished the night with 199 yards rushed, grabbing Breland's eye.
"We've been expecting him to step up like that for a couple years," he said. "He's played for us, [but] he had never really played up to our expectations because of his talent. He's grown up a little bit and had a really good game for us."
Nanih Waiya scored again in the fourth quarter, but couldn't mount a comeback.
Union will host Choctaw Central on Friday for its opener.
Sebastopol 40, Clarkdale 13
Clarkdale head coach Wes Roy said costly mistakes wasted away the Bulldogs chance at their first win in almost two years.
With less than five minutes remaining in the game, they were driving up the field hoping to make it a one score ball game. A missed handoff on the 20-yard line turned into a fumble and Sebastopolo took a three score lead, 33-13.
The Bobcats added a second late touch down before the clock ran out.
Despite the loss, Roy said he was proud of his guys and the effort they put out.
"The played hard and kept fighting and kept digging like I asked them too," Roy said.
On the field, they were led by Justin Goodwin's 109 yards rushed. Austin Thomas finished the night with 59-yards rushed and a second quarter touchdown.
The Bulldogs second score came off a 40 yard pass from Heath Harris to Dontae Shelby.
Clarkdale will open their home slate on Friday night against Nanih Waiya.
Southeast 30, Newton 14
Southeast Lauderdale started the 2013 season on a positive note, defeating Newton 30-14 on the road Friday night.
After a scoreless first quarter Andrew Brenard connected on a 30-yard field goal to give Southeast a 3-0 lead.
Later in the quarter, senior Jarrett Jenkins returned an interception 40 yards for a score to put Southeast up 10-0 at the half.
Damion Willis would help add to the lead in the second half, as quarterback Takari Brooks found him for touchdowns from 70 and 30 yards out. Jacoby Wilson also added a touchdown, returning a fumble 30 yards after Padarius Martin poked it free.
"I thought we played really hard," Southeast head coach Charles Black said. "I was really proud of our effort, because we have had some adversity lately. We have had some players injured, but our kids rallied around each other and did what it took."
Southeast will travel to Newton County for Game 2 of the season while Newton will host Raleigh on Friday night.
Quitman 8, Clarkdale 1
The Bulldogs dropped to 2-3 on the season after losing 8-1 to Quitman on Saturday afternoon.
Clarkdale rallied for six hits but was only able to plate one run, coming in the sixth inning. Heather Harwell scored on a sac-fly by Alex Riser.
Head coach Britt Bennett said he needs the time to start hitting to mount a season turnaround.
"We're just not hitting right now," he said. "We're not hitting in bunches, not hitting for extra bases. We're getting a lot of singles but not putting them together."
Hitting in the two hole, Makayla Roberts was the only Bulldog to have a multi-hit day, going two for three.
He said the lack of cluster hitting wasn't the only struggle. The defense has been committing costly fielding errors behind veteran pitcher Molly McLeod.
"We seem to fall apart for an inning or two every game right now," Bennett said. "We're going to have to clean that up if we're going to win any games."
The Bulldogs will return to action when they host West Lauderdale on Tuesday night at 7 p.m.