Prep pounds Colonels 38-0, CA hosts Leake Friday

CA FOOTBALL
Prep pounds Colonels 38-0, CA hosts Leake Friday
By James Beasley

    After winning two of their first three games, the Copiah Academy Colonels hoped they were ready to take on powerhouse Jackson Prep last Friday night. But those hopes were quickly dashed as the Patriots (4-0) scored early and often enroute to a 38-0 victory in Gallman.
    “Coming in, we felt like we wanted to balance our offense more between running and passing,” Prep coach Ricky Black said after the game. “We got our passing attack going in the second quarter, and our defense played well. That’s been the key for us this season.”
    Prep took the opening kickoff and drove to the CA 11-yard line before settling for a 27-yard field goal by Cooper Simmons and a 3-0 lead midway through the first period. The Patriots got the ball back after a shanked punt, and three plays later, junior quarterback Ryan Buchanan threw a 20-yard TD pass to Simmons, who also kicked the PAT for a 10-0 lead.
    The Colonels were again forced to punt, and Sean O’Hara returned the ball to the CA 38. From there, Buchanan ran and passed the Patriots down the field, ending the short drive with a 13-yard TD pass to Simmons for a 17-0 lead with 1:59 left in the first quarter.
    Copiah got a spark when quarterback Barron Miller connected with Dillon Martin over the middle for a 13-yard gain. Early in the second period, CA drove into Prep territory, thanks to a 13-yard pass from Miller to Adam Pitts and an 11-yard run by Miller. However, a bad snap, a penalty, and a quarterback sack forced the Colonels to punt. The Patriots responded with a 70-yard drive that featured several big gains by running back Ty Higginbotham along with an 18-yard TD run by Hamel McGraw with 3:17 remaining in the half.  
    A high snap to the CA punter caused a turnover on downs, giving Prep a first-and-10 at the Copiah 30 late in the half. After a holding penalty, Buchanan connected with Jake Williams for a 35-yard pass play that gave the Patriots a first-and-goal at the five. The CA defense managed to stop Prep three times, but on fourth-and-one, running back Grayson Lamb punched it in for the touchdown and a 31-0 halftime lead.
    The Colonels played with more consistency in the second half, holding the Patriots to a single touchdown on backup quarterback Carter Thigpen’s one-yard plunge late in the game following his 30-yard run.
    Unfortunately, CA managed only 79 yards on total offense – 33 yards rushing and 46 yards passing as Miller was 7 of 14 through the air. Despite being dominated statistically, the Colonels had some bright spots. They had no turnovers. Defensively, Adam Pitts’ interception in the end zone halted a Prep third-quarter scoring threat, and Brandon Baker’s interception later in the period ended another Prep drive. Offensively, Peyton Whitehead had a 19-yard scamper midway through the third quarter, and Miller threw a 10-yard pass completion to Pitts early in the final quarter.
“I was disappointed in the first half,” Copiah head coach Scotty Cline said afterwards, “especially considering how hard we’d played in our first three games. We didn’t play that way in the first half tonight. We did better in the third quarter and had a pretty solid fourth quarter. We’ve got to be more consistent, and it starts with me.
“We’re not going to hang our heads or feel sorry for ourselves,” the CA coach continued. “We’ll get ready for Leake next Friday, and we’ll get a win.” Copiah (2-2) will host the Rebels this Friday night, with the kickoff set for 7:00 PM.

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