Nanih Waiya Warriors looking for spark

By Austin Bishop

The Winston County Journal


Tate Hanna is admittedly a little baffled.

The veteran Nanih Waiya head football coach says his Warriors just aren’t playing with the desire and determination he has become accustomed to from his players.

“We are just not playing hard,” Hanna said. “I’m not sure what the problem is. One thing is we just don’t have that player or two who steps up and leads and gets the others going. That’s something we are missing, for sure.”

He’s also concerned about his team’s offense being one-dimensional. Actually he says it’s more like half a dimension. “People know we have a hard time passing the ball, and then they load the box on us,” he said, referring to defenses committing to the run. “On top of that, we only be able to seem to run to one side. When you are that limited, it’s not that hard to stop you.”

Hanna said a few changes would be made this week, including moving Jamarlo Smith to fullback and Isaiah Eiland to tailback, as well as playing younger players. “We are going to give those guys a chance, and see what we have,” Hanna said.

Crucial mistakes cost NW dearly last week, as Pelahatchie scored 20 first-quarter points on the way to a 39-0 win over the visiting Warriors.

“On their first drive we had them at third down four or five times, but would do something to allow them to get the first down,” he said. “We just kept hurting ourselves.”

After Pelahatchie, now ranked No. 5 by the Jackson Clarion-Ledger in Class 1A, scored on its opening drive, a short Nanih Waiya punt set up another PHS touchdown. A fumble on the ensuing kick-off led to a third score and the 20-0 lead.

“When we get that far behind, we are in trouble,” Hanna said. “It’s just hard for us to come from that far behind.”

Smith rushed for 120 yards on 22 carries and caught one pass for 42 yards to lead the Warriors. Stuart Ball hit on 3-of-12 passes for 45 yards, with Smith, Peyton Jones and Eiland each catching a pass.

Aaron Ellinburg was in on 10 tackles for Nanih Waiya, while also recording a sack and a tackle for a loss. Marcellous Grady had six tackles, including a tackle for a loss, for the Warriors, while Jones and Deyon Sanders each recovered fumbles.

Up next for Nanih Waiya, now 2-3 overall and 1-1 in Region 3-1A play, is a home match-up with the 1-5 Tigers of Ethel.

Although Ethel’s record is not stellar, the Tigers were only trailing Pelahatchie 6-0 late in the third quarter, before eventually falling 28-0.

“They are really playing better,” Hanna said. “It will be a challenge.”

Ethel’s lone win came 40-16 over rival McAdams in week three of the season. The Tigers have lost to Mantachie, Montgomery County, Pelahatchie and 41-2 to West Lowndes last week.