Two muffed punts, several crucial dropped passes and a slew of penalties ultimately did the Water Valley Blue Devils in on Friday night at Bobby Clark Field.In their Region 2-3A rematch in round 3 of the Class 3A playoffs, the Winona Tigers were able to capitalize on the Blue Devils’ mistakes just enough to claim a 10-7 victory.
Early in the second quarter two consecutive muffed punts by Water Valley at their own 48- and 18-yard line allowed the Tigers to eventually score on an 11-yard run by quarterback Nick Glover.
Winona extended its lead to 10-0 early in the third quarter courtesy of a 37-yard field goal by Jacob Carpenter.
Late in the same frame Water Valley finally got on the scoreboard when senior running back Eric Buckley took a handoff around the right side of the line on fourth-and-1 and raced 49 yards down the Tigers’ sideline for a touchdown. The only defender Buckley came in contact with attempted to run him out of bounds around the 20-yard line. Buckley later said he was just filled with anger and the Tigers’ defender was the only one in his way, so he put his head down and ran straight through the lone Tiger defender.
Water Valley (11-3 overall) had three more possessions, but was unable to get into the end zone to advance.
RESTORING PRIDE: Following the game, WVHS head coach Brad Embry spoke to his emotional players, commending them for helping “restore pride in the football program.”
Prior to the current coaching staff’s arrival, the Blue Devils had finished the 2007 season with a 2-8-1 record. Three seasons later, Water Valley — in front of a capacity crowd that senior J.D. Fondon commented he’d never seen so many people — was competing in the third round of the playoffs for the right to play in the North Half title game. (November 20, 2010)