By Gene Phelps
Special to the Gazette
NEW ALBANY – Myrtle’s star running back A.I. Nugent rushed for 306 yards and six touchdowns, but was stopped on a late two-point conversion run Friday night in the Hawks’ 48-46 loss to visiting Marshall Academy.
Nugent cut Marshall’s lead to two points on his sixth TD, a 2-yard run, with 1:11 remaining in the fourth quarter. However, Marshall’s defense was able keep him from tying the score.
“That was the definition of a football game,” Myrtle coach Jerermy Smithey said. “It was close. Our kids showed a lot of grit and toughness. It was a dogfight to the end.”
Nugent scored three touchdowns in the first half on runs of 2, 6 and 14 yards.
Myrtle running back Ethan Hunt gave the Hawks a 27-20 halftime lead on his 3-yard run with 1:55 left in the second quarter.
Marshall quarterback Jeremiah Jones gave the visiting Patriots a 36-27 lead with a 90-yard TD scamper in the third quarter. He opened the scoring in the first quarter with an 88-yard run.
Nugent responded for the Hawks, scoring on runs of 41 and 56 yards to give the hosts a 40-36 lead going into the fourth quarter.
Marshall (1-1) took a 48-40 lead on runs of 4 and 33 yards with 6:30 remaining in the game.
Myrtle’s kicker, Benji Dillard, connected on three of four extra point attempts.
Myrtle (1-2) attempted a on-sides kick, but the visitors recovered and ran out the clock. The Hawks have an open date this week, then return to action Sept. 20 with a road trip to Walnut.
Smithey says the off week comes at a good time for his players.
“We have the typical bumps and bruises,” he said. “We want to work and improve on the fundamentals and not focus as much on the game planning aspect.”