By Ruthie Robison The Winston County Journal
The Nanih Waiya Warriors hosted the Weir Lions in a Class 1A, Region 3, District 4 matchup last Thursday night.
The Warriors controlled the ball for most the game receiving a 34-7 win over the Lions for their first district victory of the season.
“We have a young team and have a lot of guys that hadn’t played much before this season,” said Nanih Waiya head coach Tate Hanna. “I believe every game we play they get more experience and we’re just going to get better.”
On the first play of the game, Isaiah Eiland set the tone with a 71- yard kickoff return with 11 seconds into the first quarter. Ty Higginbotham added the extra point giving the Warriors an early 7-0 lead.
“That’s the first kickoff return we’ve scored all year in the first half,” said Hanna. “So that set the tempo and I think we did well after that.”
The Lions’ first possession of the game proved to be unproductive and they were forced to punt.
The Warriors came back building a drive that would be capped by an 8- yard run by Jamarlo Smith for Nanih Waiya’s second touchdown of the game just minutes later. Higginbotham provided the extra point and Nanih Waiya had advanced their lead over Weir, 14-0.
Weir put forth effort to answer back, but a turnover on downs shot down their hope of entering the end zone.
In the second quarter, a Warrior interception on their own five-yard line set in motion a long drive as the Nanih Waiya offense moved the ball down the field. Quarterback Luke Rosamond entered the end zone from one yard out with just 14 seconds left in the first half of the game. After the PAT by Higginbotham, the Warriors had a 21-0 lead before halftime.
On Nanih Waiya’s second play of their first possession in the second half of the game, Smith made an impressive 72-yard dash to the end zone for another Warrior touchdown.
Nanih Waiya’s final scoring of the game occurred just minutes later in the third quarter. The Warrior defense leaped on a loose Weir ball deep in Lion territory. Capitalizing on the fumble recovery, Nanih Waiya offense fired up. A few plays later Deandre Holmes punched it in from the two. Higginbotham added the extra point and the Warriors had a 34-0 lead.
Nanih Waiya’s lead would go untouched until half way through the fourth quarter. With 6:50 left in the game, Weir junior running back Jermy Miller topped off a successful Lion drive with a nine-yard touchdown run. Tyler Martin added the extra point. However, the Lions would not be able to score again.
On the offensive side of the ball, Smith led the rushing attack with 11 carries for 143 yards with two touchdowns. Holmes followed with nine carries on 40 yards with a touchdown while Rosamond had three carries for 11 yards and one touchdown.
Rosamond was 6-10 through the air for 158 yards.
“Luke Rosamond did a real good job [during last Thursday’s game] throwing the ball,” said Hanna. “I was pleased with his passing and the offensive line did a good job during the second half.”
Eiland had four receptions for 127 yards. Stewart Ball had one reception for 16 yards while Hunter Luke had a reception for 15 yards.
On the defensive side of the ball, Aaron Ellingburg had eight stops and one fumble recovery. Peyton Jones and Marcellous Grady had seven stops each. Colby Higginbotham had two tackles for loss and a sack while Smith had one sack. Luke had an interception.
The Warriors advanced their overall record, 2-4, and hold a 1-2 record in division play.
This Friday Nanih Waiya will travel to Sebastopol to take on the Bobcats.
“We’re getting things going in the heart of the district and I believe we’re going to be fine,” said Hanna. “We’re going to play Sebastopol and that’s going to be a real big game for us. Right now Noxapater, West Oktibbeha and Pelahatchie are fighting for first [in our district] but there are still teams fighting for third and fourth and we feel like we’re one of those teams.”
The Bobcats have a 2-4 overall record and are 1-3 in district games. Sebastopol was recently defeated by the West Oktibbeha Timberwolves, 46-24.
Kickoff is set for 7:00 p.m.