SEMINARY, Miss. (WDAM) - Mitch Evans had faced some deficits in his time on the sideline at Taylorsville High School, but never quite what the Tartars head coach was looking at Friday at Seminary High School.
As the teams left the field at halftime, the scoreboard read, Seminary 34, Taylorsville 14.
“We were on the ropes, for real, that first half,” Evans said. “Seminary had a great game plan. Outplayed us and were better prepared in the first half.”
But Taylorsville had, arguably, the Pine Belt’s best quarterback on its side in Ty Keyes, and in the final two quarters, the senior put on a show.
Keyes guided the Tartars to six, second-half touchdowns and a defensive unit that had been overwhelmed in the first half held the Bulldogs to eight points after the break as Taylorsville rallied for a 56-41 road win in the season opener for the both schools.
Like many schools, the defending Class 2A champions and Seminary had seen the start of their season delayed by the coronavirus.
Too boot, the Tartars had lost eight starters from its 2019 defensive unit.
“A lot of people don’t understand,” Evans said. "We had a lot of kids playing important snaps for the first time ever, so they were a little like a deer in the headlights early.
“The second half, they settled in, and the game slowed down for them. They only gave up one score in the second half, which was huge.”
And Keyes was huge as well on the other side of the football.
By the time the scoreboard stopped spinning, Keyes had completed 15-of-24 passes for 342 yards and four touchdowns. He also rushed five times for 103 yards and two more scores.
Three Tartars had at least 90 yards receiving, with two cracking the 100-yard mark.
Senior Tyrese Keyes had six catches for 116 yards and two touchdowns, junior Cedrick Beavers grabbed five passes for 105 yards and a touchdown and Arterious Miller finished with three catches for 90 yards and a score.
The ground game rumbled to life behind Keyes and senior Jeff Pittman, who ran for 110 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries. Pittman also caught a 30-yard pass.
Freshman Cody Craft added 39 yards on three carries as the Tartars piled up 271 yards rushing. All told, Taylorsville finished with 613 yards total offense.
“The kids decided in the second half not to take this laying down, and we played like we’re capable of in the second half.”
Taylorsville (1-0) will welcome Mendenhall High School to town at 7 p.m. Friday.
Seminary (0-1) will visit Raleigh High School at 7 p.m. Friday. The Lions (2-1) topped Bay Springs High School 24-6 Friday.
KILN, Miss. (WDAM) - Senior quarterback Triston Hickman threw for two touchdowns and ran for a third as the Tomcats opened their season with a road win.
Hickman was 14-of-16 for 146 yards with two interceptions. He also picked up 13 yards and a touchdown on five carries.
Senior running back Carlos Brown rushed for 154 yards and two touchdowns on 10 carries.
Junior Jsaiah Brown had four catches for 90 yards and a touchdown and senior Noah Toce pulled in tow passes for 15 yards and a touchdown.
The Tomcats (1-0) will stay on the road, visiting Biloxi High School at 7 p.m. Friday. The Indians (1-0) opened their season with a 27-0 victory Friday at Vicksburg High School.
FRANKLINTON, La. _ The Cougars led after one quarter, and trailed by just two points at halftime.
But the Buccaneers blanked Columbia Academy 26-0 in the second half to capture the District 3-4A game.
The Cougars, 0-4, 0-1) relied on a ground game that produced 222 yards.
Sophomore Preston Sacks ran for 125 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries, while junior quarterback Kris Ginn rushed for 96 yards and two touchdowns on 22 carries.
The Cougars will host Silliman Institute at 7 p.m. Friday.