Copiah edges Central Hinds

The Colonels celebrate a Barron Miller touchdown late in their victory over Central Hinds on Friday. (Sarah Claire Armstrong)

By James Beasley

    The injury-plagued Copiah Academy Colonels lined up against the Central Hinds Cougars last Friday night without their star running back, Kelton Smith, who was out with a high ankle sprain. The winless Cougars had lost their two previous games by a total of 4 points and were hungry for a win. For three quarters, it looked like they would get it, but that was before CA quarterback Barron Miller put the Colonels on his back and carried them to a 16-10 come-from-behind win in Raymond.
    The contest turned into a battle of quarterbacks. Central Hinds’ Jordan Currie rushed 20 times for 108 yards with one touchdown and passed for 117 yards, while CA’s Miller passed for 42 yards and ran the ball 28 times for 191 yards with two TD’s.
    The Cougars took the opening kickoff and marched 79 yards, highlighted by a 55-yard pass from Currie to Lu Price. Currie later scored on a one-yard plunge, and Pate DeMuth added the PAT that gave Central Hinds a 7-0 lead midway through the opening period.
    CA began a drive at its own 37-yard line late in the first quarter and marched inside the Cougar five, thanks to hard running by Miller, Peyton Whitehead, and Sam Stevens. However, the Colonels failed to punch it in, and Central Hinds took over on downs at the three.
    Brandon Baker rescued the Colonels momentarily with an interception late in the half, but the Cougars got the ball back and Delmuth kicked a 55-yard field goal on the last play of the half to give his team a 10-0 lead.
    Whitehead returned the second-half kickoff 34 yards, giving the Colonels great field position at the 44-yard line. From there, Copiah drove deep into Cougar territory, setting up Brandon Baker’s 25-yard field goal midway through the period that cut the deficit to 10-3.
    Central Hinds moved the ball inside Copiah territory early in the fourth quarter, but the drive stalled and DeMuth’s 45-yard field goal attempt was no good. On the ensuing play, Miller ran 77 yards to the Cougar one, and then bulled his way into the end zone on the next play. Baker added the PAT, tying the score 10-10 midway through the final period.
    The Colonels got the ball back late in the game and moved it deep into Central Hinds territory, thanks to 11-yard and 31-yard pass completions to Adam Pitts and Dillon Martin, respectively. Miller scored from the three to put his team ahead 16-10 with 42 seconds remaining. But it took Pitts’ interception near midfield in the game’s final seconds to secure the victory.
    “It was sloppy,” CA coach Scotty Cline said afterwards, and he wasn’t referring to the weather. “We did a lot of bad things in the first half, and they played lights out. I don’t know if our guys underestimated them or had a mental let-down, but we regained our composure and had some big plays and held them in the second half.
    “Barron put the game on his back and scored his first touchdown ever,” the coach continued. “He deserved it. Then Adam Pitts came up with a big play for us at the end. He’s been doing that for 3 years.”
Cline also complimented running back Peyton Whitehead, who “stepped up” in the absence of Kelton Smith. “This should be (classified as) an ugly win,” he concluded, “but it’s not.”
Things don’t get any easier this Friday night as the Colonels (2-1) host the undefeated Jackson Prep Patriots, who defeated Forest High School 24-14 last week. Kickoff is set for 7:00 PM in Gallman.     

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