RICHTON, Miss. (WDAM) - With the regular-season winding down and Richton High School in the thick of the hunt for Class 1A South State playoff slot, senior running back Malcolm Hinton turned in the performance of his season.
Hinton ran for 167 yards and four touchdowns on 16 carries, three in the first half, as the Rebels held a 31-0 halftime lead and then held off Mt. Olive High School 45-24 on a damp and chilly Friday night.
“Coach told us to keep our foot on the pedal and don’t give up,” Hinton said. “This was a chance for us to get in the playoffs.”
The win was a step in the right direction, but Richton’s region finale at Stringer High School looms large.
Two of the region’s four playoff spots are spoken for, and as many as four teams could finish with 5-3 region records, including the Rebels (6-5, 4-3) and the Pirates (5-6, 4-3).
Mt. Olive, which saw a four-game winning streak snapped, may have the toughest task, traveling to region leader, Lumberton High School (8-3, 7-0), Friday night.
”It’s a tall task, but we’ve got to live up to it,” Mt. Olive coach Dante Durr said.
Hinton’s impact on the Richton offense could be peaking at the right time.
“By far his best game,” Richton coach Stephen Rice said. “The big thing for him that’s been good the last couple weeks is that he’s just done a good job running north and south, running physical.
“He’s s big kid, probably 200 pounds, so when he gets moving, he can be real good.”
Hinton scored on a 3-yard run to put Richton ahead 39-0 to open the second half before the Pirates came surging back into the game with touchdowns on three, consecutive possessions.
Sophomore quarterback Marcus Baggett scored on a 2-yard run and followed with a pair of touchdown passes.
“I think it’s hard for kids sometimes, you get up at halftime, and then you come out the first drive and punch one in, you kind of get a little lackadaisical,” Rice said. “I think we lost our focus some.”
Mt. Olive threatened to make it even closer, driving inside the Rebels’ 10-yard line midway through the fourth quarter. But senior Dylan Farve came up from his safety spot to make a tackle behind the line on 4th-and-1 at the 6-yard line.
“We started off slow, but we showed what we’ve been doing all year, we fight ‘til the end,” Durr said. “Our guys don’t ever give up.”
Farve, who also has led the Rebels offense the past two seasons at quarterback, iced the victory with a 4-yard touchdown run.
Farve finished with 87 yards and two touchdowns on 10 carries and threw a 42-yard touchdown pass to senior Braxton Brewer in the second quarter.