Warriors advance to North Half title game
Senatobia didn’t leave much of anything in doubt during the first half of Friday’s third round playoff victory against Itawamba Agricultural.
In front of a packed, enthusiastic crowd at Varner Field, the Warriors hit the gas early and never looked back, leading the visiting team 28-0 at the half. Senatobia would go on to earn a 45-6 rout of the Indians, punching the Warriors’ ticket to the upcoming Class 4A North Half Championship game.
“We did everything we wanted to do tonight,” Senatobia head coach Brooks Oakley said, following the win. “We showed up calm, established the run and we made plays on the back end. Our defense has been solid all year and we got a stop early when we needed it. That helped us set the tone and forced them to throw the football.”
Senatobia wasted no time setting that tone on the offensive side of the ball either, as Jordan Osborn took off for the first of his two touchdowns, pushing the Warriors ahead 7-0 on a 50-yard run less than two minutes into the game.
Itawamba AHS responded by driving the ball into Senatobia territory on its first possession, but the Indians were stopped on fourth and short from the Warriors’ 32-yard line, turning the ball over to SHS.
Senatobia managed to take the ball down to the Indians’ 23-yard line, but the Indians earned one of their few defensive stops by sacking quarterback Tyreese Hullette on fourth and short. The stop allowed IAHS to take over with 3:15 left in the opening quarter, but the Indians were once again unable to turn the turnover into points, as the Warriors forced a punt and took over with 1:45 left.
It was at that point when Senatobia began to march downfield yet again. The Warriors carried the drive over into the second quarter and less than a minute into the quarter, JaBrysten Abram bruised his way through the Indians’ defense for a 23-yard touchdown rush. Following the ensuing PAT, Senatobia pushed its lead to 14-0.
Itawamba AHS continued to challenge the Warriors’ defense through the air, as Ty Davis hurled a 63-yard pass to Arvesta Troupe well into Senatobia territory. However, penalties plagued the Indians, driving IAHS back from the red zone to the 40-yard line, eventually setting up a punt.
Despite the miscues, the Indians were given another chance as Isaac Smith picked off Hullette near midfield with seven minutes remaining in the first half. Once again, the Warriors locked down on the defensive side of the ball, forcing another punt and setting up the offense at their own 19-yard line.
On the first play from scrimmage, the Warriors hit the jackpot on an 82-yard touchdown reception from Hullette to Abram, stretching Senatobia’s lead to 21-0 with 4:35 left in the second quarter.
Things went from bad to worse for Itawamba AHS, as the Indians fumbled the snap on their first play, setting up a Jayden Richardson recovery and a short field for SHS. Five plays later, Hullette hit Abram on a fourth down pass from the 15-yard line, giving the Warriors a comfortable 28-0 lead.
Senatobia would get one more defensive stop to close the first half, as Hunter Mabry silenced the Indians with an interception in the end zone with less than 30 seconds left, sending Itawamba AHS to the locker room empty-handed.
Although defense was the story for both teams throughout most of the third quarter, Senatobia finally broke its brief scoring drought with 4:37 left, as Osborn broke free on a 23-yard touchdown run, giving the Warriors a 35-0 advantage.
Itawamba AHS once again ran into trouble on its next possession, as Davis’ pass found the hands of Mabry for his second interception of the evening. Facing fourth down to end the third quarter, Hullette completed a dart to Owen Gayden, giving the Warriors a first down.
Although the Indians were successful in keeping the Warriors out of the end zone, Senatobia still wound up with points in the form of a 21-yard field goal from Ben Thompson, pushing the early fourth quarter lead to 38-0.
From there, the celebration slowly began to take shape, both in the stands and on the sidelines. The Indians finally scored on a 10-yard touchdown pass from Davis to Troupe with 8:07 left, but the Warriors responded late with a nine-yard run from Amarion Ramsey, cementing the 45-6 triumph.
Senatobia totaled 432 yards of total offense in the contest, sparked by 278 yards on the ground. Hullette completed seven of his nine pass attempts for 154 yards and two touchdowns, with Abram earning four of those receptions for 120 yards and two scores.
Abram also earned one rushing touchdown, while Osborn led the way with 183 yards and two touchdowns on 28 carries.
Senatobia also finished 3-for-4 on fourth downs, while also going 40 percent on third downs.
Itawamba AHS was limited to 224 yards of total offense, mostly coming in the form of 176 passing yards. Davis completed 13 of his 24 pass attempts, including one touchdown and three interceptions.
Senatobia (11-2) will now head to Caledonia this Friday evening for the Class 4A North Half title game. The winner of the contest will earn a spot in the Class 4A state championship game in Hattiesburg on Saturday, December 4.
Caledonia is in the midst of a historic season, as the Cavaliers sport an 11-1 overall record that includes postseason wins against Kosciusko, Pontotoc and Louisville. The team’s lone loss of the season came on October 22 at Itawamba AHS (28-14).
Kickoff in Caledonia is set for 7 p.m.