Northeast Jones (3-4, 1-0) opened region play with a bang, man-handling the Richland Rangers (4-3, 0-1) on their own turf in a 35-6 road win.
The contest was played under less-than-ideal weather conditions, but a muddy field was not enough to stop the Tigers from imposing their will with five scoring drives in their most dominant performance of the season.
Northeast took charge early in the contest with a 6-yard touchdown scramble by quarterback Mason Smith on the opening drive. On the ensuing drive, Richland advanced the ball into the red zone. The drive ended, however, with an interception by freshman Jakendis Jones. The Tigers responded with another scoring drive, ending with a rushing score by Tony Barnes. The Rangers drove deep into Tigers' territory again late in the second quarter, but once again, the drive ended with an interception, this time by Kye Braddock on the 5-yard line.
Northeast’s defense continued making big plays in the third quarter, ending two more drives with a fumble recovery by Ben Knight and a blocked field goal attempt by Colton Edmonds. Meanwhile the Tigers’ offense continued to thrive, scoring three more rushing touchdowns in the quarter—two by Smith and one by Zymarrian Ducksworth.
The Rangers’ only score of the night came in the very last minute of action by way of a touchdown run by quarterback Logan Evans, slightly easing the blow with a final score of 35-6.
Smith led the offense with 83 rushing yards on 11 carries and three touchdowns. He also completed 5 of 6 passes for 55 yards. Barnes finished with 10 carries for 52 yards and one touchdown, and Ducksworth had six carries for 22 yards and a score. The Tigers’ defense held the Rangers to just nine first downs with three sacks and three forced turnovers. Joi Jones led the unit in solo tackles and made two of the three sacks.
Having now ended a two-game losing streak, coach Keith Braddock and the Tigers will look to carry that positive momentum back home to The Jungle Friday night when they host the Florence Eagles (2-5, 0-1).
Resurrection Catholic (6-0, 4-0 Region 4-1A) from the Gulf Coast scored 21 fourth-quarter points to defeat Stringer to remain atop the region standings.
Stringer sophomore quarterback Jackson Parker completed 9 of 22 passes for 117 yards and a pair of touchdowns — both to Omarion Bridges — as the teams went into halftime tied at 14.
Sophomore Jared Hosey returned an interception 20 yards for a touchdown for the Red Devils, who are scheduled to play at Union on Friday.
In other area games:
• Enterprise 13, Heidelberg, 6
• Florence 28, Collins 24
• Wayne County 21,
Pearl River Central 6
• Magee 51, Seminary 27
• Sylva-Bay 28, Centreville 16
• Richton 20, Wayne Acad. 7