BLOG — It wasn’t pretty, but Water Valley will take it.
The Blue Devils committed a pair of second-half turnovers and were flagged a whopping 18 times for more than 160 yards, but mixed in some big plays on offense and four turnovers from their defense to pick up their second Region 2-3A victory with a 28-12 win at North Panola Friday night.
The penalties drew the ire of Water Valley coach Brad Embry, who wasn’t just frustrated with his players.
“I don’t mind saying this. One of them was the worst call I’ve ever seen in my life,” said Embry, singling out a questionable pass interference call late in the third quarter. “It’s just bad. I already told (the referees). Some of them we probably deserved, but you can’t put an official like that in a game like this.
“I said it. Put it on there. Print it.”
Water Valley (8-1, 2-1 in Region 2-3A) took less than three minutes to get on the board, going up 7-0 on a 1-yard keeper by QB E.J. Bounds. But it took the Blue Devils a lot longer to put North Panola away.
An athletic Cougar defense kept the Water Valley offense at bay for a majority of the game, and 10 first-half penalties didn’t help. North Panola quarterback Jatavious Farmer hooked up with Darius Thomas for a 53-yard touchdown pass to bring the Cougars within one after a failed two-point attempt.
Neither offense did much thereafter until Water Valley’s group stayed out of its way long enough to build a double-digit lead. Bounds hit L.J. Hawkins on a slant for a 49-yard catch-and-run touchdown before finding T.T. Person from 18 yards out on the Blue Devils’ next possession to give Water Valley a 21-6 lead at the half.
Bounds’ third pass of the second half was picked off by Demitrick Porter and returned approximately 85 yards for a score to pull North Panola within nine after another failed two-point try, a score that held until Dakendrick Gooch recovered Farmer’s third fumble of the night and Bounds cashed it in with another 1-yard scoring run with 1:53 left.
Bounds went 7-for-12 for 145 yards and added 105 yards on the ground on 28 attempts. RB Elijah Rogers finished with 106 yards on 14 carries. Water Valley’s defense limited North Panola to 233 total yards.
Embry said he would have to review the film to see exactly which of the other calls he deemed valid, but he praised his team for pushing through against a capable opponent.
“Just real bad, but you know, that happens, and our kids didn’t panic,” Embry said. “We just overcame it and won, and I’m proud of our kids for that. We played exceptionally hard for four quarters against a really athletic football team and had a big win.”
See Monday’s print edition of the EAGLE for complete coverage of Friday’s game.
(October 19, 2013)