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Water Valley falls at Independence for sixth straight loss

INDEPENDENCE — The Water Valley Blue Devils knew they were going to have to fight to come out with a win against the Independence Wildcats on Cancer Awareness, Tackle-A-Cure night at Independence High School.

When the game started off 28-0 in favor of Independence, Water Valley coach Brad Embry knew the Blue Devils had an even tougher challenge ahead of them.  It was too much of a challenge as Independence defeated the Blue Devils 48-20, handing Water Valley their sixth straight loss.

“We can’t do that. No team is good enough to come back from that,” Embry said.

Although the Water Valley offense was able to score a few times, it was not enough to stop the prolific offense of Independence. After the 28-0 lead, a 55-yard run from Taghee James midway through the first quarter put Water Valley (1-7, 0-2 Region 2-3A) on the board and some hope back into the team.

The Blue Devils gave up two more scores in the second quarter but managed to put up another touchdown of their own before halftime, this time a 4-yard pass from Ty Varner to Jalin Morgan. Water Valley would end the half on a turnover and down 40-13.

“We have to grow up quick,” Embry said. “This will continue to happen until we quit giving teams 28-0 starts. They are a really good team. (Independence) coach (Richard) Russo has done a great job with the program, and they have talented athletes. Against a team like Independence, you can’t give up 28 points like that.”

The second half would be a solid two quarters for the Blue Devils, holding Independence (5-3, 2-0) to just one score while scoring once themselves.

Water Valley would put together a lengthy drive to start the half, but ultimately it ended unsuccessfully with a punt midway through the third quarter. The second half consisted of solid defense on both sides, but only the Wildcats would find the end zone in the quarter on a 13-yard run from Trevonta Newsom, putting Independence up 47-13 heading into the fourth quarter.

After a defensive stop, turnover on downs and time running out in the fourth quarter, Water Valley put together a scoring drive that ended with a pass from Blayne Clark to Jacob Welch with less than a minute left in the game for the final margin.

Water Valley stays on the road next Friday, traveling to North Panola.