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Water Valley falls to Calhoun City in home opener

WATER VALLEY — After an explosive start to their season a week ago, the growing pains showed up for Water Valley on Friday.

The young Blue Devils fell to Calhoun City by the score of 40-21 in what was their home opener at Bobby Clark Field.

Friday night also served as Senior Night for the Blue Devils. Many teams are holding their senior nights early in this year to avoid any potential home games getting canceled due to COVID-19.

Coming off their dominant 45-0 win at Bruce last week, the offense was hard to come by against the Wildcats. The Blue Devils (1-1) punted on their first six possessions and crossed midfield twice in the first half.

The Blue Devils got on the board in the final minute of the first half with a 1-yard touchdown run by Dre McCray. The scoring drive was set up by a Calhoun City fumble deep in their own territory.

“Where we’re at right now, we play one good quarter, one okay quarter and two bad quarters,” said Water Valley head coach Brad Embry. “A lot of it is on me. Some of the things we figured out, we didn’t have the right people in there. Some of the things we’ve got to a better job at as coaches. It’s not one thing, it’s a lot of things.

After keeping the Trojans off the scoreboard in their season opener, the Blue Devil defense did not have the same success in keeping the Wildcats (1-2) off the scoreboard.

Calhoun City scored on five of their first half possessions. Senior running back Jaylen Artberry accounted for two rushing touchdowns on the night. The longest came off a 62-yard run in the second quarter where he was seemingly untouched.

Freshman Doug Jones also scored two touchdowns for the Wildcats in the first half. Both coming on runs of one and five yards, respectively. Sophomore receiver Cameron Crutchfield also caught a touchdown pass.

“(Calhoun City) had a good game plan,” said Water Valley head coach Brad Embry. “They came out, we knew their quarterback got banged up and we didn’t really know what they would do. Great job by them, they snapped it to their best player all night.”

The Blue Devils got their offense going in the second half and climbed their way back into the game with a third quarter surge.

Que Carothers found the end zone with a two-yard run to make it a 34-14 score after the successful point after try. Marion Morgan then made it a two-score deficit with a 34-yard run late in the third quarter.

Calhoun City answered with a backbreaker to the Blue Devils’ momentum when Jones scored his third touchdown of the night with 10 minutes remaining for the winning margin.

“You don’t play as bad as we did, especially in the first half, and it’s not just one problem,” Embry said. “A lot of it is just experience. It’s not that we don’t want to. We just don’t know how yet. Even our old guys are playing their first football. Young guys, old guys, we’ve to get some experience and we’ve got to grow up quick.”

Water Valley stays at home next week, hosting Winona for homecoming. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.