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Water Valley takes tough blow from Winona

By Jacob Palmer

WATER VALLEY- A young Water Valley showed growing pains last week against Calhoun City and were looking to bounce back on homecoming against the undefeated Winona Tigers on Friday.

The game was tough and physical, but the Tigers came away with 36-14 victory, handing the Blue Devils their second-straight loss.

Both teams played tough, physical football, but ran into penalties that led to drives being stalled and extended for both teams. Keke Rucker of Water Valley returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown, but was brought back for holding. Water Valley’s drive would stall because of a fumbled snap.

Water Valley (1-2) started strong when senior Marion Morgan stripped the ball for a 31-yard touchdown. This would be the only points from the Blue Devils until 50 seconds were left in the game.

The Blue Devils and Tigers (4-0) exchanged tough blows back and forth in the first half. But two fumbled snaps stalled the Blue Devils.

Winona’s starting QB left during the second quarter with an injury and did not return the rest of the game. The difference in the first half was the balanced offense of the Winona Tigers. The Tigers scored three times in the first half on passing touchdowns set up by a physical ground game Deriaun Townsend. The starting quarterback for the Tigers threw one passing touchdown from 21 yards out before leaving the game with an injury. The backup quarterback for Winona threw for two more scores of 16 and 49 yards to finish out the half.

In the second half, Winona ran the ball with their bell-cow, Townsend, to keep the Blue Devils off the field. The Winona defense sealed the game with safety at the 2:09 mark in the third quarter. Both teams had issues with extended and stalled with penalties.

The Blue Devils second score of the game came late in the fourth quarter when freshman Jaden Morgan ran for a 55-yard touchdown to cut the lead to 30-14.

The Water Valley defense recovered caused two turnovers tonight.

“Lot of credit to Winona, they did a lot of good things tonight. They are a good football team. I give a lot of credit to coach Tompkins for how his team played tonight,” said Water Valley coach Brad Embry.  “The film will tell the tale. We were one or two plays away in the first half that could have made this a different ballgame. I think we played better tonight and improved on things from the previous weeks. We will take tonight and learn from it to prepare for division play against Byhalia next week. The first season is over now region play starts.”

Water Valley (1-2) will open Region 2-3A division play at Byhalia.