Magee surfs Blue Wave to big winBy JOSHUA SEABROOK,
Last Friday the Trojans overcame a slow start to earn their sixth victory over Port Gibson of the season to close out non-district play with a perfect 6-0 record.
Fans and coaches alike were frustrated with the fact the scoreboard was out of commission for the night, so a general confusion over the amount of time remaining in each quarter plagued both teams.
The Trojans’ Josh Sanders took the opening kickoff to the Magee 41, where the Trojans began their first drive of the game. Early on, Jawon Shaw made his presence known as he broke off a 15-yard run to move onto the Port Gibson side of the field. Chandler "Da Mayor" Pittman connected with Xavier "X-Man" Franks on a curl route that netted another first down. After an offside penalty backed the Trojans up 5 yards, Pittman managed to pick up the yardage lost to the penalty plus a few extra on a 7-yard run. He then overshot an open Sanders for what would have been a large gain but ended with the ball sailing out of Sanders' reach.
Facing 4th and 7, Magee opted to keep the offense on the field as the team was just out of the field goal range of kicker Sam Rials. Pittman dropped back and went to tuck the ball as he took off across the line of scrimmage. In the middle of the chaos, the ball was poked loose and recovered by a Port Gibson defender at the Blue Wave's 30, bringing a premature end to Magee's opening drive.
The Magee defense stayed in the Blue Wave backfield on the short three play drive, as Steven Durr, Jody Durr, and Emmanuel Thurman all accrued tackles for loss on the drive to force a Port Gibson punt that was shanked and rolled dead at their own 46 to give the Trojans great starting field position.
Pittman fired a bullet to Franks to start the drive with a 6-yard gain, followed by a Shaw 8-yard run to pick up a first down just outside of the redzone. Shaw then barreled ahead for a 10-yard run that was good enough for another first down. Unfortunately the ball was plucked away from Shaw's grasp and ended the second drive in a row to start the game for Magee in a fumble.
The Blue Wave took over at their own 6 and were immediately pushed farther backwards by E. Thurman and J. Durr on the first play of the drive. Being forced to play behind the chains again, Port Gibson looked to Lenell Hill on 2nd down, as the junior running back found room and picked up 12 yards and the first 1st down of the game for the Wave. Hill then picked up a gain of 4 yards before being brought down by J. Durr. After a short run by Queydarius Fisher and another TFL by Jody Durr, Port Gibson was forced to punt yet again, and the ball was downed at the Magee 45.
The Trojans looked to get out of their own way after two fruitless drives to begin the game ended with turnovers via fumble. Pittman quickly got the Trojans into the Blue Wave's redzone, as he connected with a diving Sanders for a big gain. After a short run from Shaw, Franks "Moss'd" on another poor unsuspecting defender for a 20-yard touchdown on a well thrown fade pass by Pittman to give Magee a 7-0 lead late in the first quarter.
After a quick three and out by Port Gibson, the Trojans took over at their own 45. Pittman kept the ball for 25 on the first play of the drive, but a holding call at the 40 negated the long run and moved Magee back to their own 30. After back to back short passes, the Trojans faced 3rd and 16 thanks to the penalty. Pittman turned to Sanders, who picked up 20 when he only needed 16 and moved the Trojans into Port Gibson territory. A Shaw run for 5 set up a 20-yard run by Pittman to get into the Waves’ redzone. Shaw plowed through several would be tackles on his way to an 18-yard run down to the 1, where he would go on to punch it in for the score on the following play to run the score to 14-0 Magee early in the second quarter.
Demarion Robinson fielded the ensuing kickoff back near the Port Gibson 15 and made his way out to the Blue Wave 41. Radarius Turner got the drive started with a 5-yard carry, followed by a short run by Deonquez Lyons to set up 3rd and 5. Turner again barreled ahead for what looked like enough yards for the first, but after an official measurement was deemed short of the marker setting up 4th and inches. The Wave lined up to go for it on 4th down, but an offside penalty backed them up and forced another punt. The snap to the Port Gibson punter was slightly off target, forcing him to attempt to recover. Jody Durr was quickly into the backfield and pounced on the ball to give Magee the ball at the Wave 28.
Back to back runs from Shaw put Magee in a 3rd and 1 situation, where they turned to Cayden Bridges in the backfield to pick up the first and he did, carrying the ball for a 6-yard gain down to the Port Gibson 15. Pittman then found Bridges on a flare route of the backfield for an 8-yard gain that was negated by a holding penalty that backed Magee up to the 19.
Pittman again turned to Bridges, who was the back half of the stack alignment to the left side of the Trojans offense, with Sanders in front to block. Pittman hit Bridges on a now-screen and picked up 10 to move inside the Wave's 10 yard line. Shaw carried the ball down to the 5, where Sanders narrowly missed finishing the drive, but came up just short of the goal line. Pittman finished it with a 1-yard touchdown to give Magee a 21-0 lead late in the second.
Rials' kickoff was taken in the endzone for a touchback, giving the Blue Wave the ball at their own 20. Zyrus "Big Z" Craft reeked havoc on the Port Gibson offensive line as he tallied a TFL and a sack on the drive to force another punt. A long punt flipped the field and gave the Trojans the ball at their own 40. Pittman found freshman DQ Levy for 15 to get into Wave territory. Shaw then picked up a gain of 5 before Pittman Bridges for a 25-yard score to give Magee a 28-0 lead with 1:43 remaining until the half. After a three and out, Magee had an opportunity for a 48-yard Rials field goal attempt that narrowly missed as the half expired.
The second half kickoff was returned to the Port Gibson 39 by Hill. On the first play of the drive. Turner found Fisher for on a deep ball to move to the Magee 30. Turner would then connect with Maurino Williams for a 30-yard touchdown and a 2-pt conversion to shrink the Magee lead to 28-8 early in the third. The Wave would then attempt to reverse their fates quickly with an onside kick. Magee managed to recover the kick near midfield, where Pittman and company would go to work. Shaw started the drive with a short 3-yard run. Pittman then hit Matthew Thurman on a now-screen for a 27-yard gain to move deep into Port Gibson territory. Shaw finished the drive with another rushing touchdown to give Magee a 35-8 lead. The following Port Gibson drive started with a personal foul on Magee on the kickoff return to give the Wave the ball at their own 47. The drive came to an abrupt end as Sanders read Turner's eyes and jumped the route of his intended receiver to pick off the ball at the Trojan 30. Magee was unable to capitalize on the turnover and was forced to punt the ball away to the Port Gibson 27. Sanders again made a spectacular interception to prematurely end another drive to give Magee the ball at the Wave 44. Jameyian Spencer got his first carry of the game and took the ball down to the 30. Shaw gashed the defense for a 20-yard run to set up 1st and goal for the Trojans. Pittman then found Sanders on a curl for a 10-yard touchdown to give Magee a 42-8 lead late in the third. That would go on to be the final score as the fourth quarter seemed to end much quicker than it should, but with the lack of a working scoreboard, the time remaining was unknown.
What was known was that the Trojans racked up yet another impressive victory as they improved to 6-0 heading into district play.
After the game, Coach Dyess spoke about his team’s ability to overcome a slow start on a long road trip. "I thought we played really well, we had a turnover early that cost us a touchdown, but overall I thought we played really, really well." In the game, Zyrus Craft had a breakout performance, Coach Dyess said of the growth of his sophomore nose guard, "That's what Zyrus is supposed to do. He stepped up to the plate tonight and did a heck of a job for us and clogged up both A gaps and the main thing was that he ran to the football tonight and that was huge for us." Star receiver Xavier Franks suffered an injury in the game. Coach Dyess said his status, "It’s low and I think he's going to be fine." Hopefully, the Trojans will be able to march into district play healthy as they welcome into town the Bulldogs of Seminary, who are coming off a loss to Purvis last Friday. Game time is 7 p.m. as the Trojans return to the friendly confines of Trojan Stadium.