Hornets cruise in first round win
by Andy Collier
Nov 04, 2012 | 1258 views | 0 0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The John F. Kennedy Hornets were in postseason form as they cruised past the Hamilton High School Lions 40-10 in the first round of the 2A State Playoffs Friday night at C.V. Thurmond Field in Mound Bayou.

The win was huge for the program, considering the fact that the Hornets lost to the Okolona Cheiftains last year in the first round 7-0 in Mound Bayou. The Hornets were a No. 1 while the Cheiftains were a No. 4 seed.

This year, the Hornets (9-3) were a No. 1 seed again, while the Lions (4-8) entered Friday’s game a No. 4 seed.

JFK head football coach Sheldon Hodge said the team wasn’t going to let the game with Hamilton turn into a repeat of last season.

“I think this year the guys were a lot more focused on the ball game,” Hodge said. “Last year, we realized what kind of damage a No. 4 can do. A quality No. 4 can play with a No. 1. We may have taken Okolona somewhat for granted last year. This year, we went out and prepared and gave a good effort. As a result, we were able to capitalize on some things and pull out the win. Hamilton is a quality football program.”

The Hornets held a slim 8-3 lead at halftime, but battled back to cruise to the victory.

“I think we have a offense that doesn’t mind sharing the ball. We have three of four quality players that can get the ball in the end zone. We’ve been spreading the joy around and a lot of that is a result of our junior high program. I give a lot of credit to

coach (Randall) Kelly and coach (Marcellus) Chatman for getting those guys ready to play at the next level.”

Carnez Gant had a great night for the Hornets rushing for 114 yards with three 2-point conversions on just 10 carries and caught a 33-yard touchdown pass. Ladarius Johnson had a solid night throw the ball for JFK as he completed 4-of-8 passes for 121 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. He also rushed for 31 yards with a touchdown and a 2-point conversion on 10 carries.

Ricky Fleming was Johnson’s primary target by catching two passes for 48 yards with a touchdown. Xavier Roberts round out all receivers with a 40-yard reception.

In the ground game, Eugene Pruitt aided the Hornets by rushing for 48 yards with a touchdown and a 2-point conversion on just five carries.

On defense, Roberts and Fleming each intercepted a pass, while Demorris Bedford, Timothy Richmond and Garriet Wilson racked up several clutch tackles.

JFK will host Calhoun City in the second round on Friday in Mound Bayou at 7 p.m.