CATEGORY: FOC College Football

AUTHOR: CAVEND

HED:Fake punt kills Northeast

By Kevin Cavender

Daily Journal

BOONEVILLE Southwest took care of its precarious seven-point lead late in Thursday's matchup with Northeast by utilizing the only brand of football it knows smashmouth.

The Bears ripped off 58 yards on 11 plays and ate up all but the last 12 seconds of the last three minutes to hold on to a 21-14 win over Northeast at Keenum Stadium.

"They're the leading rushing team in the state and had that big bootleg that our guy just didn't come up and contain," Northeast coach Laurin Collins said of the Bears, who didn't complete a single pass the entire game. "But they hit us with power. They're a big, strong ball club."

The drive's crucial play came when Bear quarterack Kwanzi Watts took off on a 25-yard bootleg all the way to the Northeast 26-yard line.

Northeast (0-3) will go on the road next Thursday for a 7 p.m. game with Mississippi Delta.

Northeast had come from behind to tie the game 14-14 going into the fourth quarter when Southwest faked a punt and running back Rob West rumbled 31 yards to set up first-and-goal at the Tiger four.

Bear quarterback Kwanzi Watts scored two plays later on a five-yard keeper around the left side for what proved to be the winning touchdown.

"It wasn't like they fooled us, because we had everybody there to make the stop, we just didn't make the play," Collins said of the fake punt. "That was a big momentum turn for them."

Southwest (2-1) appeared to have all the momentum early as the Bears picked up early scores, the first coming when Avin Lee scampered six yards up the middle to cap a nine-yard, 45-play drive.

After Kevin Pond's extra point made it 7-0, Northeast started its own drive but Tiger tailback Ced Carroll fumbled the ball on a third-and-2. Southwest's Telly Irby recovered at the Tiger 13.

The Bears scored on their second play when Eric Riggins ran off tackle for a three-yard score making it 14-0.

Northeast retaliated late in the second quarter, launching a 13-play, 72-yard drive, highlighted by quarterback Antonio Kirkpatrick's three connections with Tiger receiver Remond Goode for 34 yards.

Kirkpatrick put Northeast on the board with 5:52 left in the half when he rolled right and lofted one high for tight end Ike Ihejoto who cradled it from his fingertips to cut it to 14-6.

Northeast defensive end Michael Boireau set the Tigers up on the Southwest 15 when he scooped up Huggins' dropped handoff late in the third quarter.

Tiger fullback Jason Dempsey brought the Tigers within two with a four-yard touchdown run before tying the game when he caught a pass from Kirkpatrick.

"I realized they were stunting and I had to cut back when they did that," Dempsey said. "Mental mistakes on both sides of the ball cost us this game."

Game Summary

Southwest 14 0 0 7 - 21

Northeast 0 6 8 0 - 14

First Quarter

SW - Lee 6-yard run. Pond kick. (5:43)

SW - Riggins 3-yard run. Pond kick. (3:38)

Second Quarter

NE - Kirkpatrick 8-yard pass to Ihejoto. (5:52)

Third Quarter

NE - Dempsey 4-yard run. Kirkpatrick to Dempsey for two. (2:58)

Fourth Quarter

SW - Watts 4-yard run. Pond kick. (12:46)

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