Trojans whip Wildcats 51-12By JOSHUA SEABROOK,
For the third time on the young season, Magee tallied over 50 points against an opponent as the team continues their undefeated run to start the season.
The Trojans won the opening coin toss, elected to receive and took the opening kick to their own 36. From there, Chandler Pittman and company went to work. Jawon Shaw took the first carry of the game for no gain, followed by a short 1 yard gain by Matthew Thurman on a pass from Pittman. Facing 3rd and 9, Pittman forced a ball into air tight coverage and was rewarded thanks to outstanding effort from the "X-Man," Xavier Franks. Franks overpowered his defender for the ball, broke a tackle and was off to the races for a 65-yard touchdown to draw first blood and give Magee an early 6-0 lead with 10:37 remaining in the first quarter. After taking it on the chin on the opening drive by the Trojans, Ricardo Windham took the ensuing kickoff down to the Magee 44. But with fantastic starting field position, the first play abruptly ended the drive before it could get started. Kemper County's quarterback, De'Onte Rush, was barking out calls when the center mistakenly snapped the ball when Grace was not expecting it and the Trojans pounced on it at their own 49. After short gains on first and second, Pittman again looked Franks’ way on a crucial third down. Franks had his defender beat again, but was mugged by a desperate Jaylen Houston, who committed a pass interference penalty rather than get torched for another score. Magee down moved into Wildcat territory to the 33, where Shaw chugged ahead for 8 to set up 2nd and 2. Pittman fired the second down pass over Franks’ head to force another third down, where Shaw gashed the defense for a 17-yard run down to the 16. The nephew of Harold "The Train" Shaw, would go on to steamroll into the endzone for a 16-yard touchdown and 2Pt conversion to increase the Magee lead to 14-0 with 7:42 remaining in the first.
Kemper County again struggled to find any form of offense as the defense lead by Fernanzo Ross, Jody Durr, and Cameron Sullivan forced a punt down to the Wildcat 40. Pittman got the drive started by connecting with Thurman for 21 down inside the Kemper County redzone. After a short run by Pittman and an illegal procedure penalty that backed the Trojans up to the 21, Pittman looked for Thurman, who had his defender burnt, to pick up the first down. River Smart grabbed hold of Thurman's jersey to prevent what could've been a touchdown but warranted a holding penalty to give Magee a fresh set of downs. Smart's bad run continued on the ensuing play as Franks did his best Randy Moss impersonation and "Moss'd" on the Wildcat cornerback for a 10-yard score to give Magee a 21-0 lead with 3:16 remaining in the first. The Wildcats managed to move the ball onto the Trojan side of the field after Rush connected with Jamar Grace for a 35-yard bomb over the head of Thurman. That, however, was the highlight of the drive as the Wildcats stalled out and punted the ball down to the Magee 10. Facing their worst starting field position of the night thus far, Pittman looked to lead the offense out of the shadow of Magee's own goalpost. He connected with Josh Sanders for 14 to get the ball moving in the right direction. On the second play of the drive, Pittman looked to complete a swing pass to Shaw out of the backfield with blockers ahead. Unfortunately, the ball tipped off Shaw's fingertips and was deemed a lateral and was picked up by Trenton Moore and taken to the house to get the Wildcats on the board before the end of the first quarter, narrowing the gap to 21-6.
The following Trojan drive ended with another fumble when Thurman coughed up the ball after gaining solid yardage on a pass from Pittman. This time, the Magee defense had an opportunity to thwart Kemper County's attempt to score and forced another punt down to the Magee 41. Pittman started the drive by firing a strike to Franks for 25-yards to move onto the Wildcat side of the field. Pittman then connected with Cayden "Bear" Bridges for 6, before keeping it himself for a first down inside the redzone. Pittman found Sanders for a short gain, followed by a Shaw run down to the 9. On 4th and goal, Pittman kept along the left side and looked to get into the endzone. After evading a man near the 5, Pittman was brought down a foot shy of pay dirt and turned the ball over on downs. Kemper County started with the ball at their own 1 foot line looking to at least get the ball out of their own end of the field. Labryant Roberts moved the pile to the 4 on a first down run up the gut. Cassius Walker and Sullivan teamed up to stuff Roberts back to the 3 and set up 3rd and long. An offside penalty on the Trojans gave the Wildcats a little more breathing space as the ball moved to the 9. Aaron Steele moved into the quarterback position and kept for a 6 yard gain out to the 15. Steele then found Grace for 35 to get to midfield and revamp the expectations for the drive for the Wildcats. However, Durr had other plans as he obliterated Steele for a 20-yard loss on a sack that saw Durr beat his man around the edge with ease. Another bad snap brought an untimely end to a promising drive for Kemper County as Montarro Collins came up with the ball for Magee at the Wildcat 30.
After Jameyian Spencer was brought down for a loss on the first play of the drive, "Da Mayor" Pittman took off for an 11-yard gain to give Magee the ball just outside of the Kemper County redzone. Spencer picked up a gain of 1 before Pittman and Franks connected for 9 to the 10 of Kemper County. Pittman finished off the drive with a 10-yard touchdown pass to "Bear" Bridges to give Magee a 28-6 lead with :39 remaining in the first half. Windham took the ensuing kickoff 65-yards down deep inside Magee territory, but a holding penalty negated the long return, moving the Wildcats to their own 13. Steele dropped back on the first play of the drive and found the ball batted back into his face before being hit hard by Durr on what appeared to be a clean hit after the tipped pass. However, the referees saw things differently, called a roughing the passer on Durr and moved the ball out to the 25. Grace then nearly took the ball to the house on a 75-yard reception before he was stopped short at the Magee 10. The Trojan defense stiffened to thwart the Wildcats’ attempt to shrink the deficit before the half so Magee carried a 28-6 lead into the half.
Kemper County started the second half with the ball but quickly gave the ball to the Trojans on yet another bad snap. Magee set up at the Wildcat 19, where Shaw took the ball down to the 6, aided by an personal foul on Kemper County to move the ball to the 3. Sanders then took a shovel pass from Pittman for a touchdown to give Magee a 35-6 lead with 10:21 in the third. The Wildcats looked to retaliate as Steele and crew got the ball rolling on the drive moving down to the Magee 23 after being aided by several Magee penalties on the drive. Steel looked to answer the latest Trojan touchdown as he fired a pass into the endzone; however there was not a Kemper County player on the other end, but Sanders for Magee, who picked the ball off and scampered 65 yards down deep into Kemper County territory. Unfortunately, a block in the back penalty negated Sanders’ efforts and moved the ball back to the Magee 20. After a short drive, the turnover bug continued to plague the Trojans as Franks let go of the ball, and the Wildcats pounced on it at the Magee 41. Steel and company took little time to capitalize on the latest Magee turnover. After finding Grace for 16, Steele found Christian Rush for a 24-yard touchdown to close the gap to 35-12 with 5:35 remaining in the third.
Magee's next drive ended in a three and out and a beautiful punt by Juan Morales for 45-yards down to the Kemper County 24. The Wildcats returned the favor with a three and out and a punt to the their own 40. Pittman took off on the first play of the drive for an electric 20-yard run to get into the redzone. Shaw picked up 3 before a Pittman pass intended for Franks was tipped and intercepted by Jordan Little in the back of the endzone and taken 83-yards to the Magee 24, where he was chased down by Pittman, who refused to give up on the play. The Wildcats were unable to form a rebuttal as Steele was pressured into throwing the ball into traffic where Bridges picked it off at the Magee 20. Shaw got the drive started with a bruising 14-yard run, followed by a 15-yard run by Pittman to move onto the Wildcats’ side of the 50. Back-to-back runs by Shaw moved the Trojans into a 3rd and short situation where Pittman connected again with Franks for 8 to pick up the first. Spencer then carried the ball to the 30, where Pittman took off on a spectacular 30-yard touchdown run that was called back on an egregious "holding" call that occurred 25-yards behind the play. Coach Teddy Dyess was livid on the sidelines, as he let the smiling head referee know he was wrong. Pittman promptly took ball in on the following play for a 36-yard touchdown, as Coach Dyess yelled, "Call that one back!" as he vented frustrations from the previous play. Magee now held a commanding 43-12 lead after going for 2 with 8:04 remaining in the game. At this point, the Wildcats looked gassed on the field and for all intents and purposes had given up on the game. Steele connected with C. Rush for a 15-yard gain on a slant, before going to the well one too man times as the following pass was picked and taken 27-yards to the house by Janorris Newsome to give Magee a 51-12 lead which would remain the final on the night as the Trojans improved to 5-0.
After the game, Coach Dyess spoke about the team’s ability to close out the game after falling into a lull in the second and third quarters, "This team's driving me crazy! We'll score and get up 21-0 then we'll relax for a while, just constancy, we've got to learn to be consistent and play the whole game and not just get relaxed." Coach Dyess was impressed with his team's mental fortitude to travel over two hours and dominate an opponent, "It's huge because when you go into the playoffs at some point you might have to come to a Kemper County or go to a Wilkinson County and go through this, so this was great."
Next week, the Trojans saddle up for another long road trip as they travel to play the Blue Wave of Port Gibson who are coming off their first victory of the season after defeating Humphreys County 14-12. Magee will be looking to close out the non-district portion of the schedule with a 6-0 record before attempting to run the gauntlet that is district 8-3A.