TAYLORSVILLE, Miss. (WDAM) - Coach Mitch Evans said his Taylorsville High School Tartars didn’t make any major adjustments in the second half of Thursday night’s football game with Jefferson Davis County High School.
“Honestly, the plan didn’t change a lot,” Evans said after the Tartars shut out the Jaguars in the second half of a 46-14 win on a humid, sticky night in Smith County. “(Defensively), the way we fit, that changed because they had so many different formations and we were fitting the gap too wide in the first half.
“They were hitting us up inside our linebackers, so we adjusted. But our plan didn’t really change.”
What did change was Taylorsville’s slim, four-point halftime lead.
After being gouged for two, long touchdown runs in the first half, the Tartars (3-0) shut out the Jaguars (1-2) in the second, outscoring Jefferson Davis 28-0 over the final two periods.
The Jaguars hurt themselves throughout the game, ruining short-field opportunities by penalty or turnover.
In the first half, JDC took over at the Taylorsville 34-yard line after an interception. Facing a second-and-1 at the 25, the Jaguars were called for illegal shifts on consecutive plays, eventually having to punt.
Taking the kickoff to open the second half, the Jaguars marched to the Taylorsville 16-yard line, where they fumbled away the football with Taylorsville’s Zarian McGill recovering.
Taylorsville promptly went 84 yards, with junior quarterback Ty Keyes hitting back-to-back passes for 33 yards and junior Travis Keyes popping a 39-yard scoring run to put Taylorsville ahead 25-14.
Senior Keyser Booth returned the kickoff to the Tartars’ 23-yard line, but a holding on second down pushed the Jaguars back 10 yards, and Jefferson Davis wound up turning the ball over on downs.
“We killed ourselves,” Jefferson Davis coach Lance Mancuso said. “To have any chance of winning that football game against them, you have to capitalize, and we did. We felt good about what we were doing, but we shot ourselves in the foot.
“They made big plays, and you can’t do that. The kids played hard until it just got away from them there.”
Big plays were Taylorsville’s calling card all night. Ty Keyes finished 10-of-20 for 301 yards and three touchdowns with two interception, while junior running back Jeffery Pittman needed just seven carries to rush for 172 yards and two touchdowns.
Keyes opened the game with a 70-yard pass to junior Tyrese Keyes to give the Tartars an immediate 6-0 lead.
Booth’s 40-yard run and an extra point put Jefferson Davis up 7-6 after one period, but Keyes found senior Jabez Griffith in stride on a slant for a 57-yard touchdown and a 12-7 lead.
Senior DeAndre Shorts put Jefferson Davis back up 14-12 when he broke off s 64-yard scoring run with 2:13 left in the first half.
But facing fourth-and-10 from the JDC 30-yard line, Keyes found Griffith on a streak down the right sideline to give the Tartars an 18-14 halftime lead.
Tasking an 11-point lead into the fourth quarter, the Tartars broke the game wide open.
Pittman went around right end for an 80-yard touchdown run, leaping a would-be tackler on the edge to get in the clear.
Following an interception by Cedrick Beavers, Ty Keyes hit Tyrese Keyes with a 62-yard pass down to the Jaguars’ 2-yard line. Travis Keyes bowled in from there, pushing the lead to 39-14.
Pittman then capped his evening with another 80-yard run, finding a crack over the right side and then turning on the jets.
“This was big,” Pittman said. “They’ve been owning us for too long. We had to get it back.”
Tyrese Keys had three catches for 150 yards and a touchdown while Griffith had 108 yards and two touchdowns on three catches. Travis Keyes had 62 yards and two touchdowns on just six carries.
Taylorsville, which opened with three consecutive Thursday night games, will shift to mostly Friday nights for the rest of the season, including a 7 p.m. visit from Seminary High School on Sept. 13.
Jefferson Davis will host Lawrence County High School at 7 p.m. on Sept. 13.