MACON — The Noxubee County defense recorded 10 sacks and thwarted an attempt for a dramatic second-half comeback Friday night to post a 22-14 win over Kemper County, the Tigers’ second consecutive victory.
“They were a high-scoring offense, and our defense held them to 14 points,” Tigers coach Teddy Young said. “It was a great job by them to get it done.”
Noxubee County’s offense started the night well, establishing a 14-0 lead going into halftime, but the Tigers struggled with penalties and turnovers in the second half. The Wildcats ultimately failed to take advantage of the opportunities as the Tigers offense struggled to put the game away.
In the end the Tigers and quarterback Vernorrius Chaney did just enough to get the win.
“We’ve been playing with a new quarterback the last two weeks,” Young said. “We just gotta get in a rhythm, get more practice snaps in and get (Chaney) cooking.”
Fortune fell the Tigers’ way early, as the Wildcats fumbled the opening kickoff. They took advantage quickly, as Chaney hit Anthony Little for a 7-yard TD pass barely 2 minutes into the game for an 8-0 lead.
The Tigers defense was ruthless on the next drive, forcing a fumble the Wildcats recovered and getting two big sacks.
A 25-yard scoring run by Martavius Wicks boosted the Tigers’ lead early in the second quarter, and the defense preserved it late in the second quarter. The Wildcats drove to the Noxubee County 25, but they could not convert as a final pass fell incomplete before the half.
A 30-yard run by Wicks helped the Tigers open the second half with a potential scoring drive, but the Wildcats picked off Chaney at the goal line, a play that seemed to give the visitors’ offense a jolt. Quarterback Aaron Steele picked up a couple of first downs with his legs before Dicenzo Miller rumbled 47 yards for a touchdown that pulled the Wildcats within 14-6.
The Tigers had a chance to pad the lead as they drove to the Kemper 28, but they turned it over on downs. A fumble on the very next play gave them another shot, but they were stopped on third-and-short. They elected to go for it on fourth down and defensive end Chaunssey Triplett lined up in the wildcat formation. Triplett scored on a 25-yard run and ran for the 2-point conversion, and it was 22-6.
The Tigers had chances to put away the Wildcats, but a 38-yard touchdown run by Chaney was called back because of a holding penalty. Still, they moved to the Kemper 10 on the drive, but another interception in the end zone, this time by Steele, ended that threat.
Steele apparently converted the chance immediately, as Jamar Grace took a pass 97 yards for a would-be touchdown, but the Wildcats were called for offensive pass interference.
Backed up near their own 1-yard line, the Wildcats went back to work. They drove toward midfield, boosted by a 24-yard run by Steele, before their quarterback found Grace again, this time for a 52-yard score. The 2-point conversion pulled Kemper County within eight at 22-14 with 4:41 left.
It didn’t take long for the Wildcats to get the ball back, forcing a three-and-out and starting their next drive at the Noxubee County 42 with almost 3 minutes remaining. They picked up a first down, but a sack and a penalty forced them to a fourth-and-15 from the Tigers’ 46. But Steele was sacked, and the Tigers took over with 1:20 left to run out the clock and claim the victory.
Noxubee County 22, Kemper County 14
Noxubee County (4-3) 8 6 8 0 — 22
Kemper County (4-3) 0 0 6 8 — 14
NC — Little 7 pass from Chaney 7 (Martavius Wicks run), 9:42
NC — Wicks 25 run (run failed), 8:23
KC — Dicenzo Miller 47 run (kick failed), 7:22
NC — Chaunssey Triplett 25 yard TD run (Triplett run), 3:27
KC — Jamar Grace 52 pass from Aaron Steele (run good), 4:41