Four first-half turnovers were costly for Moss Point in a 37-0 loss to Wayne County on Friday at Jerry Alexander Stadium.
Costly mistakes ended Moss Point’s drives all night. Down 10 on its second possession, Tytus Miles returned the kickoff 46 yards to the War Eagles’ 43 yard line. Facing fourth-and-9, freshman quarterback Ruben Lee completes a 9-yard pass to Anthony Kirkland. But the ball is knocked out of his hand and recovered by Wayne County.
“In the first half we just had too many turnovers,” said Moss Point coach Eugene Harmon. “It put us in a bad predicament. I told the guys at halftime that we had four turnovers and we were down just 17-0. I told them to fight and get back in the game. They came out in the second half and fought, then had another turnover and got us behind the eight ball again.
“We had some misalignments early on. We watched film on them all week, and they came out differently than we expected, and they broke a couple of big plays on us. But once we got that fixed on the sidelines, we started playing some pretty good ball in the first half.”
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Wayne County capitalized on the mishandled punt snap, putting together four-play drive on a 26-yard WC Washington TD run for a 17-0 lead at halftime.
The War Eagles scored on an 11-yard ZaBryan Jackson 11-yard keeper to extend their lead to 23-0.
An 8-yard completion from Lee to Joseph Nicholson plus a personal foul against Wayne County put the Tigers at the War Eagles 30 yard line. But on the next play, Lee was intercepted inside the War Eagles’ 10.
On its ensuing possession, Moss Point again started with decent field position at the Wayne County 25. The Tigers advanced the ball to the Wayne County 4 yard line with crisp passing from Lee to Lashun Coleman for 7 yards and a 9-yard completion to Kirkland, but consecutive 15-yard penalties on the same play - a personal foul and an unsportsmanlike penalty - backed the Tigers up to the Wayne County 35 yard line.
So instead of facing third-and-one for a first down at the 4 yard line, Moss Point had a third-and-31. And that was as close as the Tigers got to scoring.
“Frustration set in,” said Harmon. “It was a lot of smack talk going on out there. I told our guys that we can’t let smack talk interfere with what we’re trying to do. We’re not where we want to be, but we are where we want to be for the simple fact that we’re trying to get ready for district play.
“We’re still trying to get people in the right position. We’re playing a lot of people both ways. Right now we’ve got a couple of injuries, we’re trying to get those people healthy.”