Itawamba Agricultural High School’s homecoming game, Friday night, a clash of two unbeaten teams.
The Houston Hilltoppers, the Daily Journal’s No.1 small school, hoped to leave town with an unblemished record. IAHS, the No. 5 large school in the Journal’s rankings, executed a plan that protected their perfect record for another week.
IAHS received the opening kickoff and did what they usually do: run the ball. The opening drive was took six plays and ended with senior Anthony Dilworth crossing the goal line after a run of 43 yards. The extra point was good, and IAHS went up a quick 7-0.
Houston responded with a strong drive of their own that resulted in a touchdown. The game was tied at 7-7.
Eleven seconds later, midway through the first quarter, IAHS senior Daeveon Sistrunk ran the kickoff back 75 yards to put the Indians up 14-7 after the extra point.
The team swapped punts on their next possessions to end the first quarter.
Houston began the second quarter with a first-and-10 on their own 33-yard line. The Hilltoppers drove it deep into Indian territory before turning it over on downs at the IAHS 1-yard line.
IAHS’s next drive lasted six minutes and over 11 plays that ended with a 65-yard touchdown run by senior Ike Chandler. Three times on the drive, IAHS converted on third downs that were 14 yards or longer, including Chandler’s touchdown.
A long return on the kickoff led to a quick Houston touchdown. IAHS led 21-14 with 96 seconds left in the half.
IAHS drove the length of the field, and freshman Alex Williamson nailed a 32-yard field goal with a second left to give the Indians a 24-14 lead. That was the score at half-time.
The Indians scored in the first half but also played a bit sloppy; they remedied that in the second half and forced a punt on the Hilltoppers first drive.
IAHS began their first drive after the break at their own 9-yard line. The first five plays of the Indians’ drive were rushing plays but, on third-and-12, Sistrunk rolled out and found sophomore Tae Chandler in the end zone for a 21-yard touchdown. With the extra point, IAHS led 31-14.
IAHS had trouble throughout the night with being offsides on kickoffs, and they kicked a pouch kick near the sideline that Tae Chandler and sophomore Scotty Bennett recovered for the Indians.
The next drive was a quick one for IAHS. It consisted of three rushing plays followed by a 17-yard pass from Sistrunk to Tae Chandler for another Indian touchdown. They led 38-14.
The Indian defense held the Hilltoppers scoreless in the second half. Houston never could put together a scoring drive, and they struggled to even move the ball at times.
Sistrunk was 4-of-8 passing for 86 yards with two touchdowns and had 68 yards rushing to go with his 75-yard kickoff return.
Ike Chandler had 222 yards on 25 carries with a touchdown. Anthony Dilworth rushed for 60 yards and a touchdown.
Tae Chandler’s two receptions went for 38 yards and each were touchdowns. Sophomore Arvesta Troupe had one reception for 30 yards.
Anthony Dilworth led the team with 13 tackles and half a sack. Junior Derreco Dilworth had eight tackles. Senior John Brazile and sophomore Daquon Waters had seven tackles each. Quinn Bennett had seven tackles and a caused fumble. Sequan Shumpert had half a sack and Tae Chandler recovered a fumble.
Extra point: Ike Chandler’s 1251 rushing yards leads the state and is the ninth best number nationally. Punter Sam Mabus is fifth in the state averaging over 45 yards per kick.
This week: IAHS opens division 2-4A play at South Pontotoc High School.