Offense fizzles out as Blue Devils fall to Pontotoc

Published 6:03 am Sunday, September 13, 2015

WATER VALLEY — Bobby Clark Field was packed Friday night as Water Valley hosted the Warriors of Pontotoc. It was homecoming night for the Blue Devils as the team tried to rebound after a tough loss the previous week to Calhoun City.

Unfortunately the Blue Devils (1-3), second-half struggles kept that from happening as the Warriors (2-2) edged the Blue Devils, 26-19.

The Blue Devils’ offense had finally come alive, posting 243 first-half yards, the highest halftime yardage total this season.

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Quarterback Ty Varner went 10 of 14 for 165 yards with a touchdown pass to Mark Gooch in the first half. Varner also had a 1-yard touchdown run with 5:28 left until halftime that put the Blue Devils up, 19-6. Shortly thereafter, a D’onterrius Hervey fumble was recovered by Pontotoc’s Brendan Hale for a touchdown, cutting the lead to just seven points with 3 minutes left in the half.

The momentum started to change as Water Valley went scoreless the rest of the game.

Pontotoc quarterback Jacob Carter and tailback Austin Morphis marched the Warriors downfield on their first drive, ending it with a 1-yard touchdown run by Carter. The game was tied at 19, and a quick three-and-out from the Blue Devils gave the ball back to Carter.

Six plays, four passes and 68 yards later, the Warriors scored the final touchdown of the game on a 32-yard pass from Carter to wideout Gabe Wilson.

The second half was a completely different game for Water Valley as the Blue Devils only managed 126 yards. Varner went 4-for-13 in the second half, finishing the game 14-for-27 for 243 yards and a touchdown.

Wideouts Daniel Fleming, Quez Towns, Mark Gooch have proved to be threats down the field for Varner, accounting for nearly half of the Blue Devils yards. His playmakers could help him gain confidence in the pocket for this Blue Devils’ pass-oriented offense to succeed in the future.

“We had what we wanted plenty of times but didn’t execute,” Water Valley Brad Embry said. “I am proud of these guys and the one-week improvement, but sometimes it’s not enough to win.”

The Water Valley offensive line has only allowed a handful of sacks this season and has been a huge part of the Blue Devils’ rugged ground-and-pound style, though a change to a more spread offensive set could be exactly what the Blue Devils need to find some consistency within their offense.

The Blue Devils will stay home this coming Friday for a matchup with Senatobia.