For years, one nagging obstacle has stood in the way of a state championship run for the Senatobia football program.
Last Friday night, that hurdle was finally cleared as the Warriors earned a 27-22 road win at West Lauderdale, finally snapping the second-round playoff losing streak that dates back to 2005.
“We are very proud of our kids for going into a great environment and getting a hard-fought win against a really good team,” Senatobia head coach Brooks Oakley said, following the contest. “When things began to swing in our favor, our team was able to make the plays that we needed to pull out the win.”
Senatobia got off to a hot start, as the Warriors struck first on a nine-yard carry from quarterback Tyreese Hullette. West Lauderdale responded with a short touchdown of its own, tying the contest at 7-7 entering the second quarter.
From there, the Warriors controlled the remainder of the first half, earning two touchdowns in the second quarter from Hullette and Jordan Osborn, going into the locker room with a 21-7 advantage at the break.
After earning a safety to open the second half, the Knights scored on the ensuing possession from seven yards out, quickly cutting into the Warriors’ lead. Leading just 21-16 entering the fourth quarter, Senatobia got the play they needed in the fourth quarter, as Hullette connected with Jayden Richardson under heavy pressure for what would be the Warriors’ game-winning touchdown.
With 4:14 left on the clock, West Lauderdale pulled within five points on a touchdown from J.J. Grant, only to be denied on the two-point conversion attempt. From there, Senatobia maintained possession and burned the clock, resulting in the Warriors’ victory.
As well as the Warriors played on offense, Senatobia also had a lot to brag about on defense. Grant, the nation’s seventh-leading rusher, was held 55 yards below his average by the Warriors, resulting in one of biggest keys for Senatobia’s victory.
With the win, Senatobia improved to 10-2 on the season and will host Itawamba Agricultural on Friday at Varner Field. The Indians are 11-1 on the season and are coming off a 30-9 victory against Ripley last Friday.
Even with one milestone shattered, Oakley and his team are far from satisfied.
“Doing something that hasn’t been done in many years is an awesome accomplishment,” Oakley said. “We don’t want it to stop there. We’re turning our focus this week to a tough Itawamba team.”
Kickoff for Friday’s contest is set for 7 P.M.
In other action:
Amory 45, Independence 6
Independence's playoff run came to an end last Friday night, as the Wildcats fell victim to a tough Amory squad in the second round of the Class 3A playoffs.
Amory jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter and tacked on 10 more points in the second quarter, leading IHS 24-0 at halftime. The Panthers continued to add to their lead, scoring 21 points throughout the second half, as IHS scored its only touchdown late in the fourth quarter.
Independence ended the season at 5-6, while Amory improved to 8-3 overall.