By Morgan Bryce
Beauregard rolled to its fifth-straight victory Friday night, pulling away from their region rival Central-Clay County 37-7.
On the first play from scrimmage, Mississippi State commit and all-state running back La’damian Webb made two crucial cuts and ran upfield for a 70-yard score, electrifying the Hornet crowd.
After back-to-back three-and-outs, the Volunteer offense nearly topped Webb’s run with one of their own, a 77-yard gallop by Camerun Peoples. A holding call nullified the play, however, and the Hornet defense held on to force a punt.
Heading into the second quarter, the Hornets were clinging to a 7-0 lead. During the quarter break, Beauregard Principal Dr. Richard Brown presented Webb with his Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Game jersey.
Both defenses ruled for most of the second quarter. The Hornet offense failed to capitalize on interceptions by Hornet defenders Jalen Miller and Danyton Thomas late in the first half.
With only 58.8 seconds remaining, Volunteers quarterback Ben Street marched his offense down the field, capping the drive with a 1-yard touchdown run by Peoples.
Tied at halftime, Webb had his usual gaudy numbers. However, the Hornets desperately needed someone to stretch the field vertically and take the Volunteer defense’s attention away from their star running back.
Senior receiver Danyton Thomas would answer the call.
Following a 63-yard catch-and-run by Quatavious Seroyer, the Hornet offense found themselves 10 yards away from pay dirt. Quarterback Jaichis Holmes took a snap from under center and rolled to his right, finding Thomas all alone for an easy pitch-and-catch for a touchdown. Kicker Ricardo Mendoza hooked the extra point left and the Hornet lead was extended to six.
The hard-hitting, stingy Beauregard defense forced yet another three-and-out on the next drive, and the Hornets would take over at their own 25-yard line.
Thomas worked his magic once again, taking a jet-sweep handoff from Holmes and slashed and dashed his way 75 yards for a touchdown, his second score of the night.
On the ensuing Volunteer drive, Hornet strong safety Jared McDonald stepped in front of an ill-advised Street pass for his team’s third interception of the night. Beauregard’s drive would stall at the Volunteer 18-yard line, before Mendoza successfully booted a 35-yard field goal to give the Hornets a 23-7 lead.
Yet another defensive stop gave Beauregard the ball back, and a chance to take a three-possession lead. After gashing the Volunteer defense up the middle, Webb broke away for a 30-yard scoring run, but was called back because of holding. Webb seemingly ignored the previous play’s result and churned his way down the right sideline for his second score, sealing the Hornet victory.
On his last drive, Holmes floated a beautiful 35-yard pass to Isaiah McKissic for the Hornet’s last score and a 36-7 lead. Mendoza pounded the extra point over the netting and into the trees behind the field to make it 37-7.
Avenging last year’s lone loss to Central-Clay County was sweet for Beauregard’s head football coach Rob Carter, who attributed his team’s win to lights-out defensive play and a grinding offense.
“We were faced with some adversity, but our guys stayed poised. We made some adjustments at halftime and those guys came out and worked that plan to perfection and we were able to get ahead of them, get them tired,” Carter said. “The defense continued a strong effort of keeping them out of the endzone, giving us back the ball and getting us three-and-outs. I can’t say enough about the defense holding us in the game till the offense could get rolling.”
The Hornets, now 5-1 overall and 4-0 in region play, will travel to Heflin, Ala. next Friday for a regional match-up against the 1-7 Cleburne County Tigers.
Carter said he and his coaches will continue working on improving his player’s football fundamentals to sustain their success.
Kickoff against Cleburne County is set for 7 p.m. CCHS is located at 520 Evans Bridge Road.