LAUREL, MS (WDAM) - On the first play of the game at Laurel High School Friday night, South Jones High School running back Ricky Boleware got caught in the backfield for a 6-yard loss.
The night did not get much better for the Braves.
Laurel quarterback Tyquan Ulmer completed 16 of 20 passes for 343 yards and five touchdowns as the Golden Tornadoes whirled away to a 49-14 Region 3-5A victory.
Receiver Je'Vah Jones caught five passes for 119 yards and three touchdowns and receiver Dontario Drummond scored on a 26-yard touchdown pass and a 73-yard kickoff return as Laurel (8-1, 5-0) won its sixth, consecutive game.
The victory left the Golden Tornadoes tied with Wayne County (5-4, 5-0) atop the Region 3-5A standings with two weeks left in the regular season.
"We hit some long plays, and that was just the kids out there playing," Laurel coach Todd Breland said.
The game was played in the wake of the Tuesday night shooting death of Laurel High student, Tamerick Drummond.
Balloons were released by his classmate as a hushed stadium observed a pregame moment of silence, and following the traditional postgame handshakes, both teams took a knee at midfield as Breland presented footballs signed by each team to Drummond's brother, Austin Pruitt.
"We talked to the kids Wednesday after what happened, and put a challenge on them to help the city out," Breland said, "and I saw the look on some of their faces, like 'Why are you even asking me this? We got it.' And they did. They responded."
South Jones (7-3, 2-3) dropped its second, consecutive region game as Laurel outscored the Braves 28-0 over the final 9 minutes, 53 seconds, to blow open what had been a 7-6 ballgame.
"It was a good game against a very, very good team," South Jones coach Cory Reynolds said. "Laurel is a quality team, very well coached. They got after us (Friday night). We didn't look good at times, and that had a lot to do with them."
Laurel scored on its first possession, with running back Michael Terrell popping through the middle for a 15-yard touchdown run for a 7-0 lead.
The Braves took advantage of a personal foul penalty and a 28-yard completion from quarterback John Mitchell to Brandon Gordon to march 60 yards and pull within 7-6 on Mitchell's 11-yard pass to Kameron Flowers with 9:56 to play in the second quarter.
It was all Laurel after that.
Ulmer found Jones for 49 yards and followed with a 26-yard scoring pass to Drummond to push Laurel's lead to 14-6.
On the Golden Tornadoes' next possession, Ulmer threw 59-yard pass to Drummond and then connected with Juan Nelson on a 10-yard touchdown pass for a 21-6 lead.
Laurel added two more touchdowns for a 35-6 halftime lead when Ulmer and Jones hooked up on scoring passes of 20 yards and 15 yards.
The duo connected for the third time to open the second half, with Jones hauling in a 31-yard touchdown pass from Ulmer.
South Jones scored on Mitchell's 24-yard pass to Gordon to make it 42-12, but Drummond returned the ensuing kickoff for the Golden Eagles' final points of the game.
Trevor McAllister scored the Braves' final points, catching Terrell in the end zone for a safety.
Gordon finished the game with 113 yards and a touchdown on seven catches. Mitchell completed 16 of 27 passes for 179 yards and two touchdowns with an interception.
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