By Jonathan Wise
PONTOTOC – As it has all year, the Pontotoc defense played a stellar game Friday at the “Hollow.” However, this time it was enough for a win, as the Warriors broke a six-game losing streak with a 34-6 rout of the Amory Panthers.
The Warriors’ stoppers forced five turnovers, pitched a defensive shutout and held the Panthers (2-6) under 150 yards of total offense in their first win over Amory in the last four meetings.
“They have been lights out all year,” said Pontotoc head coach Scott Brown. “Tonight was no different than any other Friday night. They have been the backbone of our team.”
Pontotoc’s Chase Hale intercepted Amory quarterback Gunnar Hall and took it back 25 yards to give Pontotoc a 7-0 lead with six seconds to go in the first. That score held until the late third quarter, when a 37-yard strike from Will Ard to Ashton Waldrop put the Warriors (2-6) up two scores.
A botched Amory punt snap on the ensuing possession set Pontotoc up the Panther 17, and two plays later tailback Jon Hall rumbled to the end zone from 15 yards out to make it 20-0.
Jarren McKinzie came up with the Warriors’ second pick-six when he returned a leaping interception 42 yards for a 27-0 lead with 9:11 to go in the fourth.
“That’s kind of been the story of our season,” said Amory coach Ben Ashley about his team’s costly mistakes. “You look out there offensively and we have a lot of inexperience. All you can do is try to improve. Our kids come out and work hard every day for us, and I know we will get better.”
Amory’s Fred Garth put his team's only score on the board with a 40-yard interception return of his own with 6:45 to go in the contest. Hall capped off the night with his second touchdown run of the night, this time from 48 yards out.
“I thought Jon ran the ball well and the offensive line protected better than they have all year,” Brown said.
“It feels good to get another W- the kids have continued to play hard and they deserve it.”