Holmes defeats Mississippi Delta

GOODMAN --- Coming into Thursday night's North Division opener with Mississippi Delta Community College, Holmes Community College Bulldog Head Coach Hugh Shurden and his coaches knew the game usually decided who would go to the playoffs at the end of the season.

Shurden's Bulldogs, now 3-0, responded with a 24-3 victory over the 0-3 Trojans at Ras Branch Stadium. The Bulldogs controlled the game as they have all year, by running the football. The Bulldogs ran some 50 running plays and gained 197 yards to their five passing plays for 78. Delta ran 45 plays, 27 of those passing.

"We said going into this game that it had a pivotal meaning in the state championship," Shurden said. "I know it's early. I think the last time we beat them was in 1996. This game has kept us from the playoffs for a while. We knew we had to win to put ourselves into contention.

"We are 1-0 in the North. We've got an opportunity to play hard and maybe it'll fall in there for us."

Mississippi Delta Head Coach Jim Southward said Holmes didn't allow them to do anything in the contest.

"They beat us in everything tonight," Southward said. "They are a good football team."

Southward said the Bulldog offense is new to everyone. "I hadn't seen it before," he said. "I thought we could do much better against it than we did. We are not a big defensive team, more speed oriented. We couldn't hold them. We couldn't make the plays when we needed to. Their offensive line did a great job getting movement."

Shurden said the offense is hard to handle. "Nobody's controlled it all year," Shurden said. "The offense has started working for us. We were trying to get better at what we were doing. We were trying to play four quarters, and we did that tonight."

Mississippi Delta got on the scoreboard early in the contest after driving some 43 yards to the Bulldog 24 before Jay Jones kicked a 41-yard field goal to put Delta up 3-0 with 12:33 left in the first quarter.

The Bulldogs got a score late in the first half when Brandon Blake found Byron Johnson standing in the end zone on a 32-yard touchdown pass with six seconds left. Holmes' Matt Jones added the extra point to put Holmes up 7-3.

The Bulldogs wasted no time getting the ball back in the second half as Bulldog sophomore linebacker Bryan Shumaker intercepted Markus Watkins at the Delta 17. Three plays later Sedric Clay scored from a yard out making the score 14-3 with 7:22 left in the third after Matt Jones' extra point.

The Bulldogs then started a drive back at their own 45 and continually pounded the ball to Shelton Richardson, Sedric Clay and Alex Godfrey until the drive stalled at the Trojan 10. Matt Jones nailed a 27-yard field goal to make the score, 17-3, with 6:59 left in the game.

After forcing a Trojan punt, Shumaker put the Bulldogs on the Trojan side of the fifty as returned a punt 15 yards to the Trojan 38. Bulldog quarterback Bo Bradberry then hit Michael Antonini on a 29-yard pass to the Trojan 11. Antonini ran to the three before Bulldog receiver Brian Thomas scored from three yards out with 1:42 left in the game. Jones extra point ended all scoring at 24-3.

Richardson led the Bulldogs in rushing with 65 yards on 13 carries while Clay had 60 yards on 15 carries and a touchdown.

The Bulldogs travel to Coahoma next week while Delta hosts Northwest.

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