By Rob Williams
For the Monroe Journal
ABERDEEN – Aberdeen defensive captain C.J. Williams was not happy about the way his team performed in the first half last Friday night.
"We may have underestimated South Pontotoc," Williams said. "We were trying for our third shutout, and we messed up and let them score. I called the defense together and said, 'We need to cut out all this bickering and play hard and fast, like Aberdeen.' If we play together, nobody in this division can beat us.”
"Somebody needed to be a leader and take charge on the field,” Williams added. "I decided it might as well be me."
Williams' teammates must have listened, since the Bulldogs broke open from a 13-3 halftime score to defeat the Cougars 48-3 to stay perfect in Division 4-3A play.
Aberdeen drove down to the South Pontotoc 26 on its first possession, but the drive ended when B.J. Williams was just out of the end zone on a fourth-down pass attempt. The Cougars took over on downs, but ran only three plays beofre punting the ball back to the Bulldogs.
The punt made it into the end zone. Jerrick Orr provided a big chunk of yardage with a 22-yard pass reception and then Tramonte Prather kept for 18 more. Orr got open in the corner and caught Prather's pass for a touchdown. Jacoby Carruth added the PAT for a 7-0 lead.
South Pontotoc started on the 23-yard line, and that's where they punted from three plays later after C.J. Williams caught the Cougars for a 2-yard loss after a five yard gain and then Prather sniffed out a screen pass to put them in fourth and 10.
B.J. Williams returned the punt to the 48-yard line to set up the Bulldogs for another touchdown drive. Prather hit Dorian Fears for 29 yards, then hit Josh McMillian on the dead run to put the Bulldogs up 13-0.
The Cougars ran a double reverse and had to catch Lee McCollum from behind after a 22-yard gain. McCollum did it again two plays later and broke free for 28 yards to get the Cougars deep into Bulldog territory. The drive stalled at the 17 and a penalty pushed the ball back five more yards, but the Cougar placekicker split the upright from 40 yards out for the first points scored on the Bulldogs in the division this season.
The Bulldogs were still holding on to the 13-3 margin at halftime.
After taking the second half kickoff, South Pontotoc went back to the reverse, this time the Bullodgs were ready and Tay Carothers had a tackle for loss and Shavez McMillan sacked the quarterback on fourth and four.
Taking over on downs, Orr took the ball on a sweep and zigged and zagged his way through the Cougar defense for his second touchdown to put the Bulldogs up 20-3.
The Cougars ended up punting the ball away on fourth and 14 on their next possession and the Bulldogs took over at midfield. Prather hit Isiah McMillian for 28 yards and then handed off to Donte Carter for a 20-yard gallop. Prather went back to McMillian for the touchdown and Aberdeen was up at 27-3.
B.J. Williams got wide open in the middle of the field for a touchdown pass from Prather on Aberdeen's next possession to finish the 21-point quarter for the Bulldogs.
Early in the fourth quarter, the Bulldogs were on the 7-yard line when Orr got open in the corner of the end zone to stretch the Aberdee lead to 41-3.
Aberdeen coach Eric Spann sent some of his JV into the game on offense, and freshman quarterback Fred Fields hit Orr for a 51-yard touchdown to make the final score 48-3.
"I knew you could throw the ball," Orr told Fields on the sideline. "But I didn't know you could throw it that far. All I had to do was stick my arms out and the ball was there."
Spann stressed keeping the momentum with an important division game next week.
"I told the guys it was crucial that we play the rest of the year like we did in the third quarter tonight," Spann said. "We have North Pontotoc this week, and they are a very talented, well-coached team. The winner of that game could decide the division championship."