Notes, numbers and sidelights from Week 10 (Week 11 for the academies):
• When I got in my car following the Starkville-South Panola game, I caught the end of the Clarksdale-Oxford broadcast. I heard the announcers talking about a possible hook-and-ladder play, and then I heard the names Williams and McGraw. Oh, well, I thought, guess Oxford’s losing.
But as I now know, Oxford was winning 17-14. The Chargers were trying to score a touchdown on the game’s final play so they could earn the No. 1 seed in Region 2-4A. Because Clarksdale beat Lafayette Co. and Lafayette beat Oxford, it came down to point differential. Horatio Williams caught Matt Shaw’s pass and lateraled to Taylor McGraw, who was stopped around the 30-yard line.
The Chargers had scored 17 unanswered points in the fourth quarter but then yielded a touchdown, and the region crown, with 25 seconds to go. Clarksdale will host Tishomingo Co. this week, while Oxford hosts New Albany. It’s been a remarkable turnaround for Oxford, which has won six straight since a 1-3 start.
• During South Panola’s win over Starkville, I got to wondering, Just how good would the Tigers be without Darius Barksdale? He rushed for 295 of his team’s 404 yards, with Nicholas Parker’s 75 yards the next-highest total. South Panola quarterback David Renfroe was 0-for-2 passing with one interception.
Of course, South Panola has a great offensive line and a tough defense. It is notable that a sore Barksdale sat out quite a few plays in the second half. On a third-quarter drive, he carried on only three of nine plays (Parker had a touchdown called back by penalty), and Barksdale was stuffed on a fourth-and-2. He carried three times on a 10-play drive and scored on a 10-yard run in the fourth. He had 160 second-half yards.
Starkville was held to 83 total yards and 0 points in the second half.
• Ripley secured Friday’s 19-12 win over Booneville when senior safety Tootie Carruth intercepted a pass in the end zone with 1:25 to go. It was Carruth’s team-leading fifth interception of the season. He’s also second for the Tigers in receiving yards, with 192 on nine catches. Ripley (10-0), the Daily Journal’s No. 1 small school, plays host to Amory (3-7) this week in the first round of the Class 3A state playoffs.