CATEGORY: FOC College Football

AUTHOR: WHEELE

Mississippi Delta outlasts Itawamba on homecoming

By D.E. Wheeler

Daily Journal

FULTON Overuse of cliches can be a bad thing. Living up to cliches can be pretty awful also.

The Itawamba Community College Indians seem to be living in the awful cliche world of 'too little too late' when it comes to posting losses.

A forgettable first half Saturday against the Mississippi Delta Trojans was followed by an attempted comeback in the second half, a comeback that fell short as ICC lost 28-17 on its homecoming.

"We got beat by a better football team today," Itawamba coach Jay Miller said. "It doesn't hurt as bad because of that, but it does hurt.

"A lot of times it comes down to blocking and tackling, and they did it better than we did. I'm just glad we don't have to play another homecoming this year."

This game also had early North Division playoff importance, especially for Delta (5-1, 1-1).

"This game was very big because of our loss to Northeast a couple of weeks ago," Delta coach Jim Southward said. "A loss would have assured us of being out of the playoff race."

So instead of being out of the playoff race, the Trojans offense was off to the races against the porous Indian defense in the first half.

Because of an injury, ICC's outstanding freshman receiver Shalando Jones had to step in and punt against Delta, and one his booming kicks pinned the Trojans back at their own 7-yard line late in the first quarter. A 16-yard pass from Rob Chapman to Corey Holmes helped get Delta out of the hole to the 36.

That set up a 64-yard pass play to Kendrick Lucas from Chapman. Lucas made and en route adjustment on Chapman's throw, then broke three tackles on the way to the touchdown and a 7-0 Delta lead with 43 seconds left in the quarter.

Following a 52-yard punt by Jones to open the second period, the Trojans marched down the field 80-yards on nine running plays. Holmes powered through a couple of tackles on the last play of the drive, a 36-yard run that made the score 14-0.

"We're just not playing defense," Miller lamented about Itawamba's poor first half showing. "I don't know, I thought I use to be a good defensive coach."

Delta padded its lead in the third quarter with the help of a fake punt and run for 28 yards. That set up a 7-yard run off-tackle by Holmes for a 21-0 lead with 8:45 left in the period.

The ICC offense finally showed a little spark with back-to-back plays of 32 yards, one from Jeffrey Aaron to John Bradley and a run by Andre Corbin. But the drive stalled at the 5-yard line and Ricky Shoup's 22-yard field goal broke the scoring ice at 21-3.

Delta's last TD was a gift as a blown pass coverage resulted in a Holmes 59-yard reception and run for a score. That left the situation looking hopeless for ICC, except that no one told Jones.

After his fine punting, the Pontotoc freshman returned to his better known talent of pass-catching, hauling in a 54-yard throw from Aaron that set up a 10-yard TD catch by Courtney Minor with 7:58 to play. Then the ICC defense held, and John Taylor stood the crowd on its feet with a 73-yard punt return with 5:57 left to cut the margin to 28-17.

Jones hauled in an amazing fourth down reception of 30-yard against double coverage on another ICC drive, but it was too little too late as time ran out with the ball at the Delta 4-yard line.

Itawamba (3-3, 1-1) is on the road Thursday at Coahoma.

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