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Water Valley falls to Winona, drops fourth straight

WATER VALLEY — Friday night was homecoming for the Water Valley Blue Devils, and they took on the Winona Tigers at Bobby Clark Field. Unfortunately for the Blue Devils, the Tigers took an early lead and never looked back, beating Water Valley 54-19.

By halftime, Winona had taken a 27-7 lead, all four touchdowns coming on the ground and two from Winona quarterback Jatyler Moore, who finished with six total touchdowns on the game, an impressive feat for a junior quarterback.

The first quarter was quiet for both teams with only one score, but five minutes into the second quarter, Moore’s second touchdown came after a Water Valley fumble. The game was full of turnovers for the Blue Devils, and head coach Brad Embry was clearly disappointed about the outcome.

“It’s going to be hard for me to name some positives right now,” said Embry, whose team suffered its fourth straight loss. “We have a lot of work to do. We just need to watch film and get back to work. I don’t know any other way to explain it. We need leaders to step up on the team and prove they want to get better.”

Immediately after the early second-quarter touchdown from Winona and deep in their own territory, Water Valley quarterback Ty Varner found freshman wideout Martavius Rockett, who broke free for a 76-yard touchdown, closing the gap to just one score. The next offensive play for Winona would be a fumble which would be recovered by Water Valley, but it ultimately led to a turnover on downs.

Winona would capitalize and drive down the field and in 11 plays put together another scoring drive, putting the Tigers up 20-7. On the next Blue Devil possession, with less than two minutes in the half, Varner would throw an interception that would set up another Winona touchdown.

Winona had a comfortable lead at half, and the rest of the game continued down the same path of Tiger dominance. Water Valley did show some promise by scoring on its first drive of the second half, but Winona would score six plays later on a 32-yard touchdown pass from Moore to senior wideout Michael Purnell. Varner would respond with a successful drive with Rockett capping it off with an incredible run where a busted play forced him to reverse field as he still managed to score anyway.

Moore would get the ball back and find sophomore receiver Jayarious Lofton for a 45-yard touchdown, putting the game out of reach and giving the Tigers a 41-19 lead, this all coming before the start of the fourth quarter.

The fourth quarter would consist of multiple substitutions and plenty of players on both sides getting playing time. Embry commented on his younger players’ effort compared to some of the more experienced players.

“There’s two different games going on,” Embry said. “There’s the game with the kids that are young and are competing but aren’t ready yet. The other thing is we have some guys who have played before and they just need to get better.”

Winona improved to 4-2 while Water Valley fell to 1-5. Next week, the Blue Devils face Charleston at home in the teams’ Region 2-3A opener.