Water Valley falls at Pontotoc

Published 10:54 pm Friday, September 9, 2016

PONTOTOC — In an away matchup against the Pontotoc Warriors, the Blue Devils of Water Valley had a tough time holding down the prolific offense of the Class 4A school in a 57-14 loss Friday. The game started off promising, but Pontotoc would start to find its groove offensively rather quickly compared to Water Valley, which was held scoreless until midway through the fourth quarter.

In the first quarter, both teams battled for momentum and Pontotoc running back, sophomore Gabe Harmon, would deliver. He would score on a 14-yard run and give the Warriors a lead they wouldn’t lose. The second quarter led to more dominance from Harmon, and he would score two more times in the quarter.

The Blue Devils’ defense made key stops, but fundamental mistakes led to open receivers leading to big gains and missed tackles leading to touchdowns. Water Valley coach Brad Embry reflected on the game as a learning experience and hopes the “thumping” will inspire the Blue Devils to rebound next week against Senatobia.

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“We need to learn to hate losing,” Embry said. “Maybe this is what we need. We came out playing hard but gave up some big plays, and when they went up 21-0 in the first half, we didn’t respond well.”

The second half of the game would not change much other than the Blue Devils finding some offensive success through the air later in the game. Quarterback Ty Varner was making good decisions, but his receivers dropped ball after ball. The running game was also ineffective until Trenderrious Brock scored on a 13-yard run following a muffed punt by Pontotoc, ending a nine-quarter scoring drought from the Blue Devils.

Water Valley would score again with 13 seconds left in the game on a 5-yard run from freshman Martavius Rockett. That would be the only scoring from the Blue Devils while Pontotoc would pile up more than 450 yards to go with eight touchdowns, three coming from Harmon and two from fellow sophomore Immanuel Vance. Pontotoc would capitalize on missed tackles, and great offensive line play was a big reason for the overall success.

The second half for Pontotoc would see a scoring explosion with big plays and all its drives ending in scores. A solid passing attack opened up the defense for Harmon, and he would not disappoint. The Warriors’ quick drives kept their offense fresh while their defense held Water Valley scoreless through the first three quarters.

Embry commented on the offensive problems after the game.

“There’s not one thing to point a finger at,” he said. “It takes all 11 to work together to get better on offense. We need to work on everything, and we have to fix it.”

Water Valley fell to 1-3 on the season while Pontotoc improved to 4-0. The Blue Devils will travel again next week, this time to Senatobia, in hopes of recovering from a tough loss against Pontotoc.