Magee returns to the win columnBy JOSHUA SEABROOK,
Not every win is pretty. Not every win is a blowout. Sometimes, teams have to do what it takes just to get the W and move on. After their first loss of the season last week at West Marion, the Trojans returned to the friendly confines of Trojan Field for the 2019 Homecoming game against district foe the Tylertown Chiefs.
Last week marked a low point offensively for Magee as the team was held to just 7 points on the evening in the battle between the pair of undefeated Trojans.
Magee's offense struggled to find any rhythm in the first quarter of play. Magee's opening drive began at the Trojan 20. Jawon Shaw began the drive with a 4-yard run followed by an 8-yard slant from Chandler Pittman to Cayden Bridges to move the chains. Pittman then hit Josh Sanders on a quick screen for 4 yards. Shaw followed up with a 5-yard run to set up 3rd and 1. Pittman kept on the read option and picked up 4 yards to pick up another Magee first down near midfield. The promising drive came to a screeching halt as Pittman fired a pass intended for Sanders but picked off at the Tylertown 28 by Derrick Smith.
The Chiefs' offense took the field just outside of their own redzone at the 28. Gregory Dillon started things off with a 3-yard run, followed by a 7-yard run by Kendrick Lampton. Dillon picked up 3 yards on first down before a 1-yard run by Lampton to set up 3rd and 7. Lampton then connected on his first pass of the night with Keavon Williams for 5 yards, just shy of the yard to gain to move the chains. On 4th down, the Chiefs turned to Javonte Walker, who churned out a 4-yard run to pick up the first down. Walker then picked up 6 yards before Lampton kept on back-to-back plays for 8 and 14 to get to the Magee 21. Demarcus Smith picked up 1 yard before Lampton connected with Walker for 13 to set up 1st and goal. Jody Durr busted into the backfield on 1st and goal and dragged down Dillon for a loss. Kendarius Dampeer and Cameron Sullivan then joined the party, stuffing Lampton for a loss to push the Chiefs back to the 15. On 3rd and goal from the 15, Lampton looked to the air as he fired a pass towards the back corner of the endzone, where Bridges made a touchdown saving interception to end the drive with no points and Magee took over at their own 20.
After no gain by Shaw on 1st, Pittman connected with Sanders on a deep slant for a big gain to move to the Tylertown 28. Pittman then found Sanders again for 7-yards followed by a 2-yard run by Shaw to set up 3rd and short. On 3rd down, the Chiefs pass rush surrounded Pittman, who attempted to scramble but was dragged down in the backfield for a short loss. On 4th down, Pittman fired a pass toward Xavier Franks that was batted down at the line of scrimmage to end the Magee drive inside the Tylertown 30.
After forcing a punt on the ensuing Chiefs' drive, Magee took over at midfield. Pittman went back to work through the air, connecting with Sanders for 4 yards followed up by a 5-yard run by Shaw to set up 3rd and short. Pittman hit Matthew Thurman on a quick screen that netted 15 yards to move into the Chiefs' redzone. Unfortunately, on 1st and 10 at the Tylertown 20, Pittman and Shaw mishandled the handoff with Pittman appearing to be pulling the ball out late on a read option which resulted in the Chiefs' defense pouncing on the ball at their own 23. Magee's defense again tightened up after allowing Tylertown to move into Magee territory forcing a Chiefs punt that was downed at the Magee 31. An exchange of punts ended with Magee taking over at the Tylertown 36 late in the 2nd quarter. The Tylertown defense aided Magee's cause with back-to-back pass interference calls on the first two plays of the Trojan drive to give Magee the ball at the Chiefs 10. After a pair of incompletions on 1st and 2nd and goal, Pittman found a diving Franks in the corner of the endzone for a 10-yard touchdown to give Magee a 7-0 lead with :16 remaining in the 2nd quarter. The Trojans would hold that lead going into the half.
During halftime, the Homecoming Court was announced with Aniyah Williams being named the 2019 Magee Homecoming queen.
Coming out of the half, the Magee defense remained stout, forcing the Chiefs to punt on the opening drive of the half. Magee began their first drive of the second half at their own 35. Shaw started the drive with a 1-yard run before Pittman hit Sanders for 6 to set up 3rd and 3. Shaw then picked up 4-yards on the 3rd down carry to move the chains. On 1st down, the Trojans went back to Shaw, who powered ahead for an 8-yard run, followed by a run for no gain by Pittman. On 3rd and 2, Pittman hurdled a pile of bodies on the ground as he picked up 3 yards to net another Trojan first down. Shaw picked up 5 yards on 1st down before an illegal procedure penalty moved the Trojans back to 2nd and 10. After an incomplete pass on 2nd, Pittman fired an ill-advised pass into double coverage that was intended for Sanders but was nabbed by Dillon in the endzone for a touchback. Taking over at their own 20, the Chiefs were unable to get things going and were forced to punt which rolled to a stop at their own 47.
After struggling most of the game, the Magee offense finally came to life late in the 3rd quarter. Starting at the Tylertown 47, Pittman launched the drive with a 4-yard run followed by a Shaw run for 7 to pick up a Magee first down. Pittman again kept the ball, picking up 7 yards to set up 2nd and 3. Pittman then fired a quick screen to Franks for 6 yards to move to the Chiefs’ 8. Pittman capped off the drive after spinning off a defender and taking another with him into the endzone to give the Trojans a 14-0 lead with 1:31 remaining in the 3rd.
After forcing the Chiefs to fail on 4th down, Magee's reawakened offense took the field looking to pull away and put the game out of reach. Pittman started the drive with a 7-yard run followed by a 4-yard run by Shaw to move to the Tylertown 49. Pittman then aired it out on a deep pass that connected with Sanders, who turned up field, leaving the Chiefs' secondary in his dust for a 49-yard score to give the Trojans a 21-0 lead with 10:17 remaining in the ballgame.
With a three score lead, Magee's defense ratcheted up the pressure on Lampton and company. After taking over at their own 25, Jody Durr began tormenting the Chiefs offense as he started the drive by sacking Lampton for a 10-yard loss. On 2nd and 20, Lampton connected with Williams for 5 yards on a tunnel screen. Durr again busted into the backfield, nearly sacking Lampton again and forcing an errant pass that was nearly picked off by Zyrus Craft. The Chiefs were forced to punt yet again, this time to their own 40. Magee's drive lasted only one play as Shaw broke off a blistering 40-yard touchdown run, followed by a botched snap on the PAT to give Magee a 27-0 lead with 8:13 remaining.
After being stifled all night and not finishing on promising drives, Tylertown was finally able to put together a scoring drive to avoid being shut out by the Trojans. Starting at their own 30, Jordan Anthony got the drive started with a 5-yard carry that ended with Cameron Sullivan dragging him down and an illegal procedure call that negated the play to move the Chiefs back 5 to set up 1st and 15 at their own 25. After an incompletion on 1st and 15, an offside call on Magee got back the 5-yards lost on the illegal procedures penalty. Dillon then picked up 5-yards to set up 3rd and 7. Jody Durr again broke into the Chiefs’ backfield, dragging down Lampton for a sack, but unfortunately Durr grabbed Lampton by the horse collar for a 15-yard penalty, knocking Lampton out of the game. The penalty yardage was not enough to pick up a first down due to being a from the spot of the foul penalty, setting up 3rd and 8. Anthony picked up 4 to put the Chiefs in 4th and 4 territory. Smith then picked up 6 yards to get the 1st down and keep the drive going. An incomplete pass ended in a pass interference penalty on the Trojans, moving the ball to the Magee 40. Another Magee penalty moved the ball to the Trojan 35, where Dillon picked 5 yards on 1st and 5 to get another 1st on the drive. Smith then rushed for 10-yards to move into the Trojans' redzone. Williams, who had moved to quarterback in place of the injured Lampton, was tackled for a loss by Jamaal Dinkins to set up 2nd and 15. After an incomplete pass on 2nd down, Williams connected with Quadarius Cook for a 25-yard touchdown to prevent the shutout, giving the Trojans a 27-6 victory.
After the game, Coach Teddy Dyess gave the game ball to his father, whose mother passed away this week. Coach Dyess' father attended his mother's wake and made it back home in time to see his beloved Trojans march on to victory. Coach Dyess commented on how important this victory was to his family and to the still grieving Franks, whose father passed last week. "It's about the kids. It's never been about me. God gives me the ability to do this and I have a great group of kids. If we don't have those kids, nothing else matters." The Trojan offense slept walked through much of the first half before awakening in the third quarter. Coach Dyess commented on his team’s ability to rebound from the slow start offensively: "I'm really, really happy with that; it sounds dumb but sometimes to make a deep run into the playoffs you've got to win a game like that where you're flat. Defense has to carry you for a while, and we did that tonight and the offense got going and you saw what happened."
After falling in defeat for the first time on the season last week, Coach Dyess commented on the importance of returning to the win column: "It was huge, you go down there and get into a 48-minute dog fight. You have five points less than they do at the end of the night, but our kids answered. We practiced really well this week. The kids answered and responded the way they were supposed to."
Next week Magee travels to play the Jaguars of Jefferson Davis County in a game that has huge implications for the seeding of the district heading towards the playoffs. Come out to support the Trojans as they look to continue their march towards the 2019 3A playoffs.