BIGGERSVILLE – Walnut’s early season success hit a significant road bump in the form of a top-ranked powerhouse from neighboring Alcorn County.
The Wildcats struggled for answers against the Daily Journal's No. 4-ranked small school Biggersville on Friday night, as the Lions poured it on early and often in a 61-16 victory in front of a packed home crowd.
A pair of 40-plus yard rushing touchdowns from Biggersville’s Jathan Hatch, a pair of Walnut (3-1) interceptions returned for touchdowns, and an 18-yard touchdown strike from Lions quarterback Drew Rowsey to Dylan Rowsey gave Biggersville (3-0) a near-insurmountable 35-0 lead after the first quarter.
The Lions kept the pressure on into the second, as a 12-yard Jayce Taylor rushing score, another Rowsey-to-Rowsey touchdown connection of 37 yards, and a Hatch 52-yard punt return brought the halftime score to 55-0.
The Wildcat offense could not get much momentum in the first half, thanks in part to four turnovers, however the second half brought about a pair of productive offensive drives, as a C.J. Adams goal line dive capped off a 60-yard touchdown drive in the third quarter, and an Adrian Palmer 23-yard pass to Aaron Cabriana in the fourth gave Walnut their only scores on the night.
Zyler Clifton led the Wildcats with 51 yards rushing, as well as two-point conversion reception. As a team, Walnut mustered just 130 yards from scrimmage -- 84 rushing and 46 passing.
All four of the Wildcats' turnovers were by way of interceptions.
Turning Point: A pair of pick-sixes on two consecutive Walnut drives put Biggersville ahead 35-0 at the end of the first quarter.
Point Man: Hatch led the Lions on offense with 122 rushing yards and two touchdowns, as well as a punt return touchdown.
Talking Point: “We haven’t had much adversity yet, and we had plenty of it tonight. We gotta learn how to fight back, how to bounce back, and how to deal with things not going your way.” - Walnut coach John Meeks.
• Austin Watson scored Walnut’s second two-point conversion, capping off Walnut’s night on offense.
• Biggersville outgained Walnut 212-130 in total yards.
• This week, Walnut travels to Marshall Academy while Biggersville opens Division 1-1A play against Thrasher.