CORINTH • New Albany gave the defending 4A champs all they could handle for three quarters.
Leading by seven at the end of the third, Corinth put up 23 points in the final period to secure a 58-35 Division 1-4A win and a playoff berth.
“We felt like, offensively, we could pretty much do our stuff,” said Corinth head coach Todd Lowery. “(New Albany) did a few things differently, but we were able to adjust to it.”
Corinth (5-2, 2-0) saw its three-touchdown lead dwindle to seven points in the third quarter, as New Albany running back A.I. Nugent cut loose for 95 yards and two scores, a 1-yard run and a 45-yard jaunt as time expired to pull within one possession.
The Warriors were able to answer midway through the fourth with a 24-yard touchdown from Cayden Betts.
On the first play of the Bulldogs’ next drive, Joe Mathis hit Cameron Knox for a 66-yard connection to stay within striking distance with 6:01 left.
Corinth faced 3rd and 13, where Christian Barber took a 62-yard screen pass from Brawner Cregeen for the momentum-flipping score.
“That play broke it open,” said Lowery.
After a safety added two points, Betts added his fifth score of the night, tying a school single-game record, with an 18-yard run with 1:55 left to seal the win.
“He’s so explosive and dynamic,” Lowery said. “I think he has a really high ceiling, but he’s not even close to reaching it yet.”
New Albany (3-3, 1-1) had two scores in the first half, both from C.J. Hill on runs of 1 and 3 yards.
Betts gave Corinth a 28-14 halftime lead with an 88-yard kick return for the score and a 2-yard score as time expired in the opening half.
Turning Point: Barber housed a screen pass 62 yards to put the Warriors up 49-35 with 6:01 remaining.
Point Man: Betts had 14 carries, 109 yards, four rushing touchdowns and an 88-yard kick return for a score.
Talking Point: “When you fumble the ball, when you give up kickoff returns for touchdowns, when you do those things, you’re not going to beat good teams.” –New Albany head coach Cody Stubblefield.
• Betts broke the single- season school record with his third kick return for a TD and the career record for his fourth total.
• Warriors racked up 374 yards of offense.
• Next up, Corinth travels to Ripley, while New Albany hosts Tishomingo County.