Water Valley rolls past Independence in opener

Published 9:20 am Saturday, August 28, 2021

INDEPENDENCE- Water Valley opened the 2021 football season in a new division but faced a familiar opponent.

The Blue Devils now reside in Region 1-3A after spending the last few years in 2-3A with Friday’s opponent, Independence. The Blue Devils defeated the Wildcats 34-0 for their first win of the season.

Water Valley’s defense was the story of the game as they forced the Wildcat offense into four turnovers, including two on the first two offensive drives for the Wildcats. The Blue Devil defense forced three in the first half.

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Dre McCray intercepted the ball for a 25-yard touchdown to make the score 6-0 Blue Devils after the missed PAT.

The Blue Devil (1-0) defense continued to swarm to the ball the rest of the half with three huge sacks. One sack from Will Sanford and two sacks from Que Carothers. They started the second quarter with a 46-yard touchdown run by CJ Telford to make the score 13-0.

The final points in the half were scored on a screen pass from Telford to Marion Morgan. Before the half ended, the Blue Devil defense forced their third turnover of the first half when Eli White caused a fumble on a Wildcat player. The fumble was picked up by Jaden Morgan and returned 40 yards.

The Blue Devils survived multiple penalties and fumbles throughout the game to defeat the Wildcats. On the
night, the Blue Devils had more than 15 penalties on the night and multiple fumbled snaps.

“We played a lot of young guys tonight and it showed at times,” said Water Valley head coach Brad Embry. “As a coach, I want to play perfect and so do the kids. So we have some work to do to get better.”

The Blue Devils were driving down the field to open the second half before the game was stopped with an injury timeout for a lineman Keith Lloyd. The Blue Devils drive stalled after play resumed, but they managed to score on a muffed Wildcat (0-1) punt recovered by freshman Brayden Buford in the endzone to put the Blue Devils.

The game’s final score came on a 22-yard pass from Telford to Marion Morgan to open up the fourth quarter.

The defense continued to live in the Wildcat backfield all night when Ky Cooke forced the Wildcats into a punting situation after a massive sack in the fourth quarter to put the game way for good.

“We said we weren’t going to win on execution tonight, and we had to win on effort and hustle,” Embry said. “Give (Independence) credit. They got after us tonight, but we powered through and hustled. We played really hard and one thing I’m really proud about tonight is none of our guys cramped up.”

Water Valley hosts Senatobia(0-1) next week at Blue Devil Stadium for their home opener.