n Wave's defensive effort supported by
186 yards rushing.
By Gregg Ellis
Tupelo's ticket to the Class 5A playoffs is now all but validated.
The picture became more clear Friday when the Golden Wave turned back Greenville 7-0 at THS Field in a game dominated by the defenses.
With the victory, Tupelo improves to 7-2, 3-2, while the Hornets drop to 5-4, 2-3. The Wave now owns sole possession of the fourth and final playoff spot in Region 1-5A.
"We didn't play with the emotion and intensity we had against South Panola, but our defense played great," said THS coach Phil Ferguson, whose team has two games remaining at Horn Lake next week and at home against Olive Branch in two weeks. "But, we beat a very good football team that has a lot of athletes."
Defensively, the Wave limited to the Hornets to just 131 yards of offense and gave up just 41 yards on the ground.
Offensively, Tupelo score just once, but it did created a lot of yards behind the running of Davious Gillespie.
The 6-foot-1, 200-pound junior totaled 186 yards rushing, 120 coming in the second half.
"He saved us," Ferguson said of Gillespie. "He had some big runs for us."
In all, Tupelo totaled 241 yards, while quarterback Will Kline was 10-of-23 passing for 107 yards. In the first half, the Wave finished with 180 yards of total offense, while the Hornets manufactured 64.
"We knew Greenville had a great offense, so our offense had to stay on the field as much as possible," Gillespie said.
Gillespie provided Tupelo's lone touchdown, a 1-yard plunge behind fullback Bo Baxter with 2:08 left in the opening quarter. The run capped a 7 play, 66-yard march that also saw Gillespie break off right tackle for a 36-yard pickup.
The only other legitimate scoring opportunities for the Wave came with 19 seconds remaining in the first half on a 37-yard field goal attempt by Taylor Mathis that was a yard short, and a missed 35-yarder on the second play of the fourth quarter.
But when the Wave needed to move the football to keep the clock running late, it was successful.
After stopping Greenville late in the game, Tupelo took over at its own 11 with 5:43 remaining. The Golden Wave never again relinquished the football, as it drove to Hornets' 31 as time expired. Gillespie collected 41 yards on that possession.
"The coaches just told me to hang on to the football and move the chains," Gillespie said. "I guess that's what I did a good job with."
The deepest Greenville advanced the football was the Tupelo 27.