WATER VALLEY —It wasn’t pretty, but in the end the Water Valley Blue Devils did just enough to come away from Bobby Clark Field on Friday night with a 27-21 victory over the Class 4A North Pontotoc Vikings.
After jumping ahead to a 21-0 lead at halftime, the Blue Devils (4-1 overall) saw their lead dwindle during the second half.
The difference in the game came down to the absence of Vikings quarterback Brandon Bailey in the first half.
Due to breaking a finger on his non-throwing hand two weeks ago — and subsequent surgery on it Thursday — the senior dual-threat QB attempted just one pass during the Vikings’ scoreless first half.
Back under center in the second half, Bailey orchestrated two touchdown drives, capping both with 7- and 38-yard TD passes.
After Bailey’s 7-yard TD strike to Shemiah Carter with 1:46 remaining in the game, it took junior Adam Langham recovering the ensuing onside kick to preserve the victory.
QUICK START: After getting a big fourth-down stop on the Vikings’ first drive of the game, Water Valley marched 69 yards to take a 7-0 lead. With a fourth-and-goal at North Pontotoc’s 3-yard line, head coach Brad Embry dialed up a play-action rollout pass for freshman quarterback E.J. Bounds. The play — apparently — was too good, as not only did it fool the Vikings players, but also one of the referees, who whistled a touchdown when running back Zenty Allen plowed into the end zone… without the ball. Bounds, meanwhile, had rolled to his left and found Langham wide open in the end zone.
After some back-and-forth between Embry and the head referee, Water Valley was forced to repeat the down. Luckily for the Blue Devils, Bounds scored on a bootleg to his right.
North Pontotoc’s Adrian Davis booted (literally) the kickoff, and Allen jumped on the loose ball at the Vikings’ 16. Three plays later, Water Valley junior C.J. Jackson raced straight-ahead untouched for a 14-yard touchdown strike to put the Blue Devils ahead 14-0.
With 16 seconds remaining in the second quarter, WVHS would cap its big first half when Bounds connected with Langham for a 16-yard touchdown strike. Bounds looked off the coverage to his left before throwing to a wide-open Langham to his right side.
Late in the fourth quarter the Blue Devils would find the end zone for the last time when Allen broke through the middle of his offensive line, ran over two defenders, and out-ran North Pontotoc safety Caleb Mills 32 yards for a score. Bounds would miss the extra-point attempt, bringing the score to 27-21.
NEXT UP: Water Valley will return to the gridiron on Friday, traveling to region foe Independence. The Wildcats (2-3 overall) lost to New Albany 56-6 on Friday. Last year, the Wildcats topped Water Valley 7-6. (September 18, 2010)