RIVERSIDE — The West Tallahatchie High School Choctaws evened their record at 2-2 on the young season after a 38-0 road win over the Riverside High School Bulldogs here Friday night.
Riverside fell to 0-4.
“We needed that,” said West Tally head coach Shane Hargett, whose team improved to 2-0 away from home, while they have yet to win their first game at Choctaw Stadium in 2022.
The 38-point margin of victory was the greatest for a West Tallahatchie team since the Choctaws shut out Ethel 52-0 on Sept. 20, 2019.
Hargett said his players turned in a good performance.
“We blocked a whole lot better and didn’t miss as many assignments,” he noted. “We protected the football. The last two weeks, we’ve done a great job of that.”
Hargett and fellow coaches had made ball security a focal point after the Choctaws coughed up 12 turnovers in the first two games, both losses.
They have had one turnover in each of the last two games, both wins.
“When we can protect the football, we can do pretty good,” Hargett noted. “If we can continue to protect it, we can win a whole lot more [games] than we lose.”
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Hargett lauded his defensive unit, led by first-year coordinator Allen Spurlock.
“Coach Spurlock is doing a great job with the defense. He’s very meticulous as far as breaking down film, and he watches tons of film. He does due diligence in giving us the best possible game plan defensively,” said Hargett. “You like to see that in a young coach.”
He noted that Spurlock is “good at what he’s doing” and “the defense is much improved over last year.”
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At Riverside, Hargett said Isaac Day scored twice, on runs of 12 and 25 yards, before leaving the game with a “shoulder issue.”
Ja’Quarius McGee also scored twice, on runs of 32 and 19 yards, Hargett noted.
Jesderrius Williams had a 50-yard TD run while Tony Young Jr. tacked on a 12-yard TD run, followed by a Tristan Hill conversion run.
Hargett said Hill’s conversion was the only one that was not a PAT kick attempt. All six of those were either blocked or were off target, but the coach said his team will continue to spend time on improving the kicking game.
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This week, West Tally will play host to the West Bolivar High School Eagles of Rosedale during homecoming at Choctaw Stadium.
West Bolivar is 1-3 after suffering a 49-6 loss to North Side in their most recent outing. A week earlier, the Eagles beat O’Bannon 20-12.
“They’re a lot better than they were last year, but if we continue to protect the football and eliminate our turnovers, we can, hopefully, be successful,” said Hargett.
“A big caveat to that, and any football coach will tell you, this is the worst week of the year because you’ve got homecoming distractions,” he added. “There’s tons of distractions. The main thing this week is to keep the guys focused. Hopefully, we can get out of there with a win.”
West Bolivar also represents the Choctaws’ Region 2-1A opener and begins a series of seven straight games in region play.
It is the outcome of those seven regional contests that will determine playoff eligibility and seeding for the postseason.