“Our kids fought tough,” Winterboro head coach Dave Nurnberg said. “I can’t fault them on effort. We had chances to finish drives and we didn’t. Turnovers hurt us and we are still trying to find away to stop the run. I won’t fault the kids on effort. I won’t fault the coaches; we are not going to give up. We are going to find a way and we are going to keep trying too.”
The first quarter was filled with turnovers for both schools.
Winterboro fumbled the ball over three times in the first quarter. The Bulldogs fumbled twice inside of the Loachapoka’s 20-yard line.
The Bulldogs lost fumbles at the Indians’ 19 and 20-yard line in two of their three drives.
“When we get chances in the red zone we have to learn how to capitalize on them and that is the bottom line,” Nurnberg said. “I’ll take responsibility for that. If we can get it there, we ought to be able to get in it.”
The Indians also turned the football over three times on their side of the 45-yard line on their first three possessions of the game.
The Indians were finally able to put together a scoring drive in the second quarter. Loachapoka got good field possession off a Wakeem Huguley 42-yard punt return to the Winterboro 48-yard line.
Jywon Moss completed a pass to Chauncey Finley to the Winterboro 27-yard line. Juwan Turk sprinted for a 16-yard gain down to the Winterboro 11-yard line. Deon Roberts scored a few plays later from 5 yards out to make it 6-0 with 5:28 left in the half. The PAT was no good.
On the Bulldogs (1-5, 1-4) next possession senior quarterback Taylor Garrett limped off the field after an incomplete pass. Garrett did not return to the game in the second half.
The Bulldogs once again failed to put any points on the board when they reached the Indians red zone. Winterboro drove down the field using their wildcat offense. Cardi Duncan rushed for 11 yards to the Indians 31-yard line. Cedric McKenzie went around right end for a 13 yard gain on fourth down to give Winterboro a first down at the 12-yard line. Jaylen Ashley gained 9 yards straight up the middle of Loachapoka’s defense to set first and goal at 2. The Indians forced the Bulldogs to go backward on three straight plays. On fourth and goal from the 5, Ashley completed a pass to McKenzie who stopped 3 yards short of the end zone.
“That was big,” Loachapoka head coach Jerome Tate said. “I know they wanted to get in. That was big for us and I think it kind of shifted the momentum a little bit.”
The goal line stance gave the Indians momentum that carried over to their offense. Loachapoka put together a 98-yard drive that took less than four minutes off the clock. On third and 9 from midfield Moss found Huguley for a 50-yard touchdown. The two point conversion was good to increase the Indians lead to 14-0.
The Indians put the game away late in the fourth quarter. Ryheem Sistrunk scored from 5-yards out to cap off an 87-yard drive.
“We came out and did what we basically wanted to do,” Tate said. “We wanted to run the football at them. We want to pound them and wear them down a little. We have to get back tough. They are a good football team, don’t get me wrong. I know they are very young, if they eliminate some of those mistakes they are going to be pretty good.”
With the win Loachapoka improves to 3-3 overall and 3-1 in Class 1A Region 5 play.
It was a big win for us in the region,” Tate said. “It puts us in good position in the region. We have three more region games, so it puts in the position where we can hopefully make the playoffs. We are one step closer to the playoffs and hopefully, we can fight for second or third or maybe even first.”
Winterboro host Wadley next Friday.