Something had to give in this game as JFK and Broad Street were both a perfect 3-0 in the region. The Hornets proved to be the dominant team of the night as they hammered the Jaguars 31-6.
The Hornets stretched their overall winning streak to six games and improved to 7-3 with a perfect 4-0 mark in the region. The Jaguars saw their six game winning streak come to an end as they fell to 6-3 with a 3-1 mark in the region.
Carnez Gant, who was nicknamed the “playmaker” by sports writer Donell Maxie, lived up to the hype. He rushed for 68 yards with a touchdown on six carries, caught two passes for 21 yards and a TD and intercepted two passes, returning one of them for a touchdown.
“Maxie described him as a playmaker and that’s exactly what he is,” Hodge said. “We want the ball in Carnez Gant’s hands as often as possible.”
JFK running back Eugene Pruitt also had a great game as he rushed for 111 yards with a touchdown on 18 carries and had a 31-yard catch.
“When Carnez is not carrying that ball, we want to give it (Eugene) Pruitt.,” Hodge said. “Those young men did an excellent job tonight.”
The first half of the contest started out as a defensive struggle as neither team scored in the first quarter. With 10:55 left in the second quarter, JFK’s defense made a huge play as Gant intercepted a pass and returned it 47-yards for a touchdown. Gant ended up scoring the 2-point conversion to put the Hornets up 8-0.
The Hornets’ offense also got some hard running from Pruitt with quarterback Ladaris Johnson doing a good job of running the offense.
JFK also gave its kicking game a try as Garriet Wilson booted a 20-yard field goal to make the score 11-0.
The Broad Street Jaguars got some bad breaks on offense as Devante James marched on a 46-yard run for an apparent touchdown, but it was waived off due to a holding penalty. Toward the end of the half, James connected with Ladarious Walker for what might have been a 25-yard TD pass, but the officials ruled that Walker had caught the ball out of bounds and the pass was ruled incomplete.
“It seemed like the flag got a little happy on our side of the field,” Broad Street head football coach Damaris Mitchell said. “We had some situations where we made plays and we did some things that caused a couple of touchdowns we had to be called back.”
In the second half, the Hornets got the ball first and marched on a long 8-play drive. The drive ended with success as Gant galloped on a 39-yard TD run with seven minutes left in the third. The two-point conversion try was no good, but JFK held a 17-0 advantage.
Broad Street didn’t back down as the team appeared to have some life left. With 3:13 left in the third, James galloped into the end zone on a 10-yard run. James tried to score the 2-point conversion but was tackled short of the end zone by Damian Hodges to keep the game at 17-6.
After Broad Street’s touchdown, JFK stepped up its overall play. Demorris Bedford, Ladatrian Glenn, Kordell Moore and Trevell Parris made some big plays on defense through out the evening. In the fourth quarter, the Hornets’ offense shifted to another gear as Johnson connected with Gant on a 14-yard TD pass with 7:29 left to play. Pruitt scored the 2-point conversion to make the score 25-6.
Gant’s work wasn’t over yet. On second down-and-seven, Gant broke up a pass from James that was intended for Walker in the end zone. On the next play, Gant intercepted a pass near the end zone and returned it over 50 yards to put JFK in Broad Street territory. The Hornets marched the ball down the field for another good drive. With 45 seconds left to play, Pruitt marched on a 3-yard touchdown run. The 2-point conversion attempt was no good, but the Hornets put the final nail in the coffin for the victory as they brought home the first “Battle of Old Highway 61” Trophy sponsored by the Bank of Bolivar in Shelby.
“We made some mistakes at crucial intervals in the game,” Mitchell said. “The only thing that did was end a six-game winning streak for us. Now, the only thing that we have to do is start another six-game winning streak and that would mean a win in Jackson.”
Johnson had a solid game under center for the Hornets as he completed 5-of-8 passes for 99 yard with a touchdown. Jeremy Gant caught two passes for 47 yards to round out JFK’s receivers. Xavier Roberts also did a good job of punting for JFK as he pinned Broad Street inside its 20-yard line twice.
On offense for Broad Street, James led the way by rushing for 150 yards with a touchdown on 19 carries while completing four of seven passes for 63 yards with two interceptions. Corey Alexander rushed for 28 yards, while Ladarius Walker caught three passes for 59 yards to round out the offense.
Demarcus Alexander recorded five total tackles including two tackles-for-loss to lead the Broad Street defense, followed by Carmen Banger with seven total tackles.
JFK will hit the road to Webb to play West Tallahatchie in another showdown, while Broad Street will travel to Sarah to play Strayhorn in a region contest. A win for JFK would give the team the region championship outright. Broad Street and Strayhorn are currently tied for second with the winner earning the right to host the first round of the playoffs.