Like most of the North Pontotoc Vikings' opponents this season, Nettleton was unable to stop junior running back Zay Cullens on Friday night, as the Tigers were handed a 62-26 loss to open Division 4-3A play.
Cullens finished with 305 yards on 24 carries and five touchdowns to lead the way in the win.
“We didn't do a very good job tackling at all,” Nettleton coach Mike Scott said. “He was the complete difference on Friday night.”
Cullens opened the night with a bang – a 75-yard sprint for a score on the first play from scrimmage. He scored again on a 6-yard run when Nettleton fumbled the ensuing kickoff.
The Tigers were stifled by eight turnvoers, but allied for a pair of scores in the third quarter on passes of 9 and 65 yards respectively by Coleton Ausbern to Blake Hester and Drae Smith to pull within 42-20. Cullens scored just five minutes later, however, to keep widening the advantage.
“We're struggling defensively right now, and we're just going to have to keep at it,” Scott said. “We just want to keep trying to get better the last four or five weeks.”
Ausbern also tossed another TD to Hester in the second quarter, this one a 63-yard score and also scored on a 1-yard QB keeper in the fourth quarter.
“He has played pretty well, but he's still a sophomore and he makes sophomore mistakes sometimes,” Scott said. “Drae Smith and Jerrod Walker both had really good ballgames on Friday. And defensively, if Dalton Combs doesn't make the tackle, we don't make one. He's played really well so far. We're just hoping to get those guys in the right spots to make things happen.”
The Tigers will look to get their first win of the season when they host South Pontotoc this Friday for homecoming.
“We're going to treat them like we have everybody else. We'll work, scheme and put the best game plan together,” Scott said.