Cody Johnson

Falkner's Cody Johnson throws a pass toward the sideline. Johnson and the Eagles will take on H.W. Byers this Friday at 7 p.m. |FILE

NEW ALBANY – Falkner could not find a way to slow down Myrtle’s A.I. Nugent last Friday night. Nugent, a 5-foot-9, 205-pound junior running back, scored four rushing touchdowns to lead Myrtle to the young program’s first MHSAA division victory, a convincing 47-0 decision against the Eagles.

Nugent rushed for 148 yards on 13 carries and scored from 47 yards out on the 1-1A game’s first play.

First-year head coach Jeremy Smithey, whose team had lost four straight games since its season-opening win at Vardaman, says the victory came at a good time.

Myrtle was coming off a division loss at Biggersville last week.

“It’s nice to get back in the win column,” Smithey said. “It kind of gets the monkey off your back.”

Despite the losses, the coach has seen his players improve week to week. “You see the little things in practice,” he said. “Some of the younger players are starting to grow up.”

Myrtle (2-4, 1-1) plays this week at Thrasher in a division matchup.

Nugent wasn’t a one-man show in the win against Falkner. Ethan Hunt, a 160-pound junior running back/defensive back, rushed for 121 yards on 14 carries and scored two touchdowns.

“Ethan had a lot of good games running last year that were just overshadowed by A.I.,” Smithey said. “Having Ethan give us two good options at running back. He does whatever you ask him to do. His good work ethic is paying off.”

Nugent has now rushed for 100-plus yards in six consecutive games this season. He has rushed for 1,116 yards and scored 19 touchdowns.

Jackson Mayer passed 17 yards to Luke Gaines for Myrtle’s other touchdown against Falkner. Benji Dillard kicked four PATs and Nugent ran for one. Gage Enis also had one pass reception for 12 yards.

Falkner (1-4, 1-1) returns to action this Friday against H.W. Byers in their homecoming game. The Lions are (1-3, 0-2) on the season following their 34-32 loss to Thrasher last Friday.  

dillon.barnes@journalinc.com

Twitter: @SS_Sports_

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