TAYLORSVILLE, MS (WDAM) - One good half of football just isn’t going to get the job done against Taylorsville High School.
Bay Springs High School matched the Tartars stride for stride in the first half Thursday night, twice taking touchdown leads before going into halftime tied up 14-14.
The second half was pretty much all Taylorsville.
Sophomore quarterback Ty Keyes repeated his first-half performance with a pair of touchdown passes in the third quarter as the unbeaten Tartars pulled away to a 35-14 victory in the Region 5-2A opener for both teams.
Taylorsville’s defense turned downright stingy in the second half, allowing the ground-oriented Bulldogs no points, four first downs (one by penalty), 34 yards rushing and 84 total yards.
“We did enough to win offensively, but the defense carried us (Thursday),” Taylorsville coach Mitch Evans said. “(Assistant) Coach (Mason) Grissom made one, small adjustment at halftime, and I felt like it shut their whole run game down, and if you can get them out of running that Wing-T and get them doing what they don’t like to do, you’re at an advantage.”
Senior Raven Arrington and sophomore Jalon Clark each caught a pair of touchdown passes and Clark’s 48-yard interception return in the fourth period put the finishing touches on the Tartars’ 17th consecutive victory dating to the seventh week of 2017.
“Taylorsville’s just a great football team and we hurt ourselves at times when we didn’t need to hurt ourselves,” Bay Springs coach Dan Brady said. “They’re just really, really good defensively.
“But we’re going to be OK. It’s just the last week of September, and we’ve got a long way to go.”
Bay Springs (4-3, 0-1 Region 5-2A) took a 7-0 in the first quarter on a 6-yard touchdown run by senior Jamarius Hosey.
Taylorsville (7-0, 1-0) tied the game early in the second period when Keyes found Clark with a 16-yard touchdown pass.
The Bulldogs went back ahead 14-7 on a 7-yard run by junior quarterback Adrian Cole, but Keyes and Arrington teamed up on a 55-yard scoring play to knot up the game at haftime.
In the third quarter, the Tartars appeared to have taken the lead, only to see a 61-yard touchdown pass called back because of a holding penalty five yards behind the line of scrimmage.
But on the next play, a third-and-23 from Taylorsville 24-yard line, Keyes found Arrington in stride about 20 yards downfield, and the shifty, speedster did the rest to finish off a 76-yard touchdown to give the Tartars their first lead of the game at 21-14.
“I thought he made some good throws,” Evans said of Keyes. “I just didn’t think we protected him as well as we should have.”
The Tartars protected well enough on their next possession to allow Keyes to complete four of five passes for 94 yards, including a 34-yard touchdown to a streaking Clark inside the left sideline for a 28-14 lead after three quarters.
Clark’s interception return gave him his third score on the evening.
“Coach talked to us about adversity, and to just do our thing,” Clark said of the halftime conversation. “It was, don’t let the talking get to us, just do the talking with our pads.
“That’s just what we had to do, and we did it.”