HED:Miss. Pride vs. Memphis Jazz
By Parrish Alford
Northeast Mississippi got a taste of semipro football International Footbal League style Saturday as the Jackson-based Mississippi Pride took on the Memphis Jazz in a regular season game.
When the final horn sounded the Pride had good reason to stick out their chests, improving to 5-1 with the 54-6 win before an estimated crowd of 200 at the Tupelo High School Football Stadium.
A barage of penalties, most of the 5-yard variety but several unsportsmanlike calls, kept the game slow. Twice in the first half the teams drew flags on three successive plays. Early in the third quarter the Jazz backed themselves up 15 yards with three straight illegal procedure penalties.
One standout out for the Pride was former Jackson State player Dexter Thomas who had a hand in the Pride's first two touchdowns. Thomas returned a punt 48 yards to give the Pride a first down at the Memphis 11-yard line with 14 minutes, 12 seconds left in the first quarter.
Three plays later Tracey Milton burst off left tackle for 16 yards and the score. Bobby Cowart's extra point put the Pride up 7-0 with 13:45 left in the quarter.
Thomas scored the second touchdown himself, capping a five-play, 47 yard drive with a 9-yard run. The kick failed, and the Pride led 13-0 with 10:49 left in the first quarter.
The Pride's second touchdown drive began when cornerback Johnny Tart picked off a pass from Memphis quarterback Honore Britton. It was one of three interceptions thrown by Britton, the former Mississippi Valley quarterback, who completed 7 of 16 passes in the first half.
Aaron Brown scored the Pride's third touchdown on a 6-yard run, capping a four-play, 75-yard drive. The march was aided by an unsportsmanlike call and a 41-yard completion from Maurice McGruder to Reggie McGee. The two-point conversion run put the Pride up 21-0.
Minutes later McGruder hit Jerome Young for a 10-yard score and a 28-0 lead.
The Jazz got on the board when Britton passed 5 yards to Leo Hawkins with 4:41 left in the half.
Second half scoring went this way:
(bullet) Jerome Vigne passed 26 yards to Tyrone Ashley with 7:13 left in the third for a 34-6 Pride lead.
(bullet) Vigne 26 yards to McGee with 21 seconds left in the third for a 41-6 lead after the kick.
(bullet) Vigne to Ashley on a crossing pattern, a 63-yard pass-and-run for a 48-6 lead after the kick with 6:33 left in the game.
(bullet) Tim Moore ran 20 yards with a lateral from Tart after Tart recovered Memphis fumble on the kickoff. The PAT failed, and the Pride led 54-6 with 6:04 to play.