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Young Blue Devils stay scrappy in gritty win over Byhalia

By Jacob Palmer

BYHALIA- The real season started for Water Valley tonight as the Blue Devils opened up Region 2-3A play against the Byhalia Indians.

The Blue Devils came into tonight’s game on a two-game losing streak but ended the losing skid with a hard-fought 27-13 win.

The Water Valley defensive and offensive line faced a huge test tonight against Byhalia and Mississippi State commit Makylan Pounders. The Blue Devils (2-2, 1-0 2-3A) struck first in the game at the 7:38 mark when Dre McCray scored on a 25-yard touchdown run that was extended by Byhalia penalties.

Pounders and the Byhalia defensive line wreaked havoc on CJ Telford and the Blue Devil offense, which stalled out the rest of the first half. The Water Valley defense shutdown the Byhalia offense on deep passes throughout the game, forcing the Indians to focus on the run game and short passes. The passing defense in the first half was highlighted by junior Marion Morgan’s play on a pass in the end zone that forced a turnover on downs on the Indians. The Indians scored their first points of the game
on a nine-yard QB run with 35 seconds left in the half.

“A win is a win. This is a good win,” said Water Valley head coach Brad Embry. “We have been working hard the last few weeks to get better, and we are going to enjoy this win tonight.”

In the second half, the Indians scored on a 20-yard pass after taking advantage of a Blue Devil fumble. The Water Valley defense was the story in Friday’s game, forcing three Indian turnovers in the second half. Daylon Vaughan and Parker Todd each had an interception and Jamerious Jenkins recovered an Indian fumble.

The Blue Devils tied the game up in the second half with an 89-yard touchdown pass from Telford to Dre McCray. Telford would add another score on an 11-yard run to give the Blue Devils the lead for good.

McCray also added a second touchdown from 40-yards out. Telford completed the two-point conversion to Morgan to put the game out of reach from the Indians. The Blue Devils also benefited from wet balls as the Indians could not hold on to the football on kickoffs.

“I am proud of the way our defense and our secondary played tonight, we made some tweaks here and there and got better,” said Embry.

The Blue Devils return home next week to Bobby Clark Field and host Independence. The Blue Devils defeated the Wildcats 21-17 last year.