The Magee Trojans were in a dogfight last Friday night against the Seminary Bulldogs, but the Trojans emerged with a 28-22 victory, thanks to a Chandler Pittman touchdown late in the fourth quarter.
This was a “prove it” game for the Magee Trojans as they faced their toughest opponents of the season. The Trojans entered the game as the number one ranked team in the MS 3A division, according to Maxpreps, and their opponents were ranked number 8.
The Trojans’ upcoming schedule includes the following ranked opponents: West Marion (2), Jefferson Davis County (5), and Columbia (4).
Late game execution was an issue for the Trojans last season that led to losses in three very close games during district play. The Seminary game proved that the Trojans have matured and are ready to take the next step towards becoming champions.
The test started early for the Trojans after giving up the opening touchdown to Seminary and falling behind 0-7. From there it was the Xavier Franks show. Franks was a reliable target for quarterback Chandler Pittman and shined throughout the game. Franks caught three first half touchdowns to keep the game tied at 22-22 entering halftime.
The defense played well in spots throughout the first half but struggled against the intermediate passing game. Seminary employed an efficient running game that kept the Trojan defense honest.
However, after the halftime break the Trojan defense made the necessary adjustments and began shutting down the Bulldogs, starting with dominating the line of scrimmage. Jody Durr is going to be a problem for any team hoping to pass the football in the future. Durr repeatedly found his way into the backfield on key downs making plays.
At the start of the fourth quarter the game remained tied at 22-22. A big run by Pittman put the Trojans in scoring position, but he took a nasty hit and left the game for a play. The Trojans got behind the chains and on 4th and 5 an incomplete pass to Franks led to a turnover on downs.
The defense took the field and held the Bulldogs. Big time tackles from Cameron Floyd and Jameyian Spencer forced a punt. The punt was short, and the Trojans took over on the 18 yard line. The ball was advanced to the goal line and a catch in the endzone near the pylon by Franks appeared to be a touchdown, but the refs marked him short at the 1 yard line. The Trojans were then stuffed on four consecutive plays and failed to score.
The defense came out for a crucial stand. Jody Durr once again was the catalyst for what would be the most important defensive stance of the game. After giving up a first down the Trojan defense dug in. Durr beat the offensive lineman for his third sack the following play and set the tone. The Trojan defense followed suit and forced another punt.
Seminary’s defense was wearing down, and it became evident as their play became sloppy and they began incurring even more penalties. Back to back penalties placed the Trojans near the goal line for a third time. Late in the fourth quarter and it was winning time, the Trojans looked to #2 to seal the deal. Pittman dropped back to pass from the six yard line and saw an opening in the middle of the field. He tucked the ball, took off, and did his best Superman impression as he leaped over the goal line for the game winning touchdown. The 2-point conversion was no good. Seminary had no timeouts, and the defense played solid to finish the game.
Throughout the game whenever the Trojans needed momentum they called on Big Play Zay who over delivered. Franks finished the game with 10 receptions for 270 yards and three touchdowns. Franks had an outstanding game. Pittman completed 13 of 23 pass attempts for 320 yards, three touchdowns, and one interception. He also led all rushers with 13 carries for 54 yards and a touchdown.
The defense was led by Cameron Floyd with 14 tackles and a sack. Jody Durr finished the game with 13 tackles three sacks, and seven tackles for a loss.
The road ahead only gets tougher. The Trojans will be celebrating Homecoming this Friday as they face arguably their toughest opponent this year in West Marion. However, the team has proven it knows how to win and has what it takes to rise in pressure situations. That will be key in the game against West Marion.