Notes, numbers and sidelights from Week 7 (or, if you’re an academy, Week 8):
• Offensive juggernauts always thrill stat geeks like myself. So I was just giddy after watching Shannon’s 63-41 win against New Albany. On their first eight touchdown drives, the Red Raiders ran a grand total of 17 plays; they “ground out” a seven-play drive for the final score. For the game, Shannon ran 54 plays and gained 652 yards (426 passing, 226 rushing), for a 12.1-yard average.
I saw one of the wackiest plays of the season. Late in the second quarter, Shannon was forced to punt. It tried a fake, but Will Waycaster’s pass was intercepted by Devonte Conley at the New Albany 42-yard line. Conley was then stripped of the ball by Davon Lowry at the 46. Next play, William Green caught a short pass, broke three tackles at the 20, and scored to put Shannon up 28-6.
I also witnessed one of the hardest hits I’ve seen in years. New Albany tailback Jeremy Cannon was gathering in a swing pass when Shannon cornerback Arceto Clark laid the wood on him, jarring the ball loose. Hard to describe it – just imagine a speeding train running through a thin sheet of glass.
By the way, New Albany ran 73 plays and gained 418 yards – 270 rushing, 148 passing.
• Speaking of juggernauts, Oxford looked like one in a 62-40 win over North Panola. The Chargers totaled 576 yards – 201 rushing, 375 passing. It continues an upward trend for Oxford: During a 1-3 start, the Chargers averaged 19.5 points per game; during their current three-game winning streak, that number is 42.
QB Matt Shaw was only 10-for-24 passing … for 375 yards and four touchdowns (53, 34, 25, 65). That’s 37.5 yards per completion. Horatio Williams had six catches for 242 yards and two TDs (54, 65). – Stats courtesy of Sarah Lacy, Oxford statistician
• At least two area standouts joined the 1,000-yard rushing club Friday. Jeremy Cannon, the New Albany tailback, gained 161 yards against Shannon, giving the senior 1,150 yards. Hebron Christian QB JoJo Pearson racked up 303(!) yards on the ground in a 40-14 defeat of Tupelo Christian; the junior now has 1,259 yards.
• Ripley senior Ben Wallis blocked a Kossuth field goal attempt in overtime, which allowed his brother, junior Will Wallis, to win it with a 24-yarder (10-7 your final). It was Ben’s third blocked kick this season and the sixth of his career. – Stats courtesy of Jim Pannell, Ripley statistician/historian
• And finally, congrats to Alcorn Central on snapping its 33-game losing streak with a 37-20 win over Middleton, Tenn. But the Golden Bears still haven’t defeated a Mississippi team since Sept. 3, 2004, when they downed Biggersville 48-34.