By Austin Bishop
The Winston County Journal
At this point in the season every week has become the playoffs for the Nanih Waiya football team.
“Every week is important to us right now,” said NW head coach Tate Hanna. “All of us are battling for those spots and that includes the next two teams we are playing.”
Nanih Waiya visits West Lowndes on Friday, and then travels to Sebastopol on Oct. 18. The Panthers of West Lowndes are 3-3 overall and 2-2 in Region 3-1A play, with both of those league losses being to two of the region frontrunners in Pelahatchie (47-13) and French Camp (32-6). WL has league wins over Ethel (41-2) and West Oktibbeha (54-8).
“They have gotten better every week,” Hanna said of West Lowndes. “I know the last two weeks they have looked real good. They seem to run a different offense every week. Last week (against West Oktibbeha) it was the Notre Dame Box. All the changes makes it difficult to prepare for them.”
The Warriors made a couple of their own changes offensively last week and Hanna is pleased with the early results. Tailback Jamarlo Smith was moved to fullback and wide receiver Isaiah Eiland was brought in to run at tailback.
“It really helped a lot,” Hanna said. “He (Smith) is a straight ahead runner and hits the hole so quickly that being at fullback makes him more effective.”
Smith rushed for 181 yards and two touchdowns on just eight carries in last Friday’s 40-12 win over Ethel, while Eiland had seven carries for 38 yards.
NW took a 20-0 lead after one quarter of play, with Smith scoring on a 65-yard run, Eiland getting into the end zone from seven yards out and Dylan Dent scoring on a two-yard run. Smith ran in the two-point conversion after Dent’s touchdown.
The Warriors led 40-6 at the half thanks to second-quarter touchdowns on a 25-yard pass from Stewart Ball to Eiland, a 40-yard interception return by Peyton Jones and a 51-yard run Smith. Gentry Hodge connected on two of the three extra point attempts.
Ethel scored touchdowns in the second and fourth quarters.
Ball hit on two-of-six passes for 36 yards, with Eiland having one catch for 25 yards and Garrett Miles recording an 11-yard reception. Marcellus Grady led the defense with five tackles, while Aaron Ellinburg had four.
Nanih Waiya is currently 3-3 overall and 2-1 in league play.