By Austin Bishop
The Winston County Journal
What veteran Nanih Waiya head football coach Tate Hanna liked best about his team’s 41-6 win over Clarkdale on Friday night was what he didn’t see.
“We had zero turnovers,” Hanna said. “We did a great job protecting the ball this week. We moved the ball well and put points on the board.”
Turnovers were a serious problem in Nanih Waiya’s season-opening 24-12 loss to Union. “Hopefully we’ve got that taken care of,” Hanna said. “It’s something we will keep working on. We just can’t afford turnovers if we are going to be successful.”
Hanna said limiting mistakes was going to be a key for the Warriors to have a chance to beat Class 2A Lake on the road this Friday night. The Hornets rolled past Sebastopol 45-7 last week after handling Madison St. Joe 45-14 in their season opener.
“They will be a lot like Union,” Hanna said of the Hornets. “They are a big physical team and Jeff (Breland) is going to have his team running the veer and the counter trap. You are just going to have to stop it.” Jeff Breland is the older brother of Union head coach Brad Breland.
“The biggest thing I have seen is that they have been putting together some seven or eight minute drives,” he said of Lake. “Both of us like to hold on to the ball. When they are doing that it means you have to take advantage of your opportunities.”
The Warriors certainly did that on Friday night. After a scoreless first quarter Nanih Waiya erupted for four second-quarter touchdowns to take a 28-0 lead at the half.
Jamarlo Smith, who finished the night with 209 rushing yards on 12 carries, scored on touchdown runs of 3 and 12 yards and Peyton Jones caught a two-point conversion pass from Stewart Ball to put the winners up 14-0. Ball then connected on a 55-yard scoring pass to Isaiah Eiland and a 39-yard touchdown strike to Jones to put NW up 28-0 at the intermission. Gentry Hodge kicked both extra points.
Smith broke free for a 62-yard touchdown run in the third quarter and Deyon Sanders scored on a 2-yard run in the fourth to cap the scoring for the Warriors. Clarkdale picked up a touchdown late in the game.
Ball hit on 7-of-11 passes for 136 yards for the Warriors, while Jones had four catches for 57 yards and Eiland two for 68. Garrett Miles had a reception for 11 yards, while Dylan Dent rushed for 31 yards on seven carries.
Marcellous Grady recorded 11 tackles to lead the NW defense, while Aaron Ellinburg, Sanders and Cheston Jones had six each.
After this week’s road trip to Lake, the Warriors will return home to host East Oktibbeha on Sept. 13 to begin Region 3-1A play.