• John Macon Gillespie

Coverage Recap: North Pontotoc 48 | South Pontotoc 7

The scoring started early and never stopped for the Vikings of North Pontotoc(8-3, 5-0) as they would claim the Horton trophy for the ninth consecutive season, defeating cross-county rival South Pontotoc(7-4, 3-2) on their home turf. Last night’s meeting marked the 13th time the two programs, separated by just 17 miles, had played for the trophy, with the Cougars having taken the first four.

The offensive backfield for the Vikings proved to be too much for the home team to handle. On the first play from scrimmage quarterback Clark Mills launched a pass downfield to a wide open receiver that was bound for the end zone. That pass would be dropped, but star tailback Zay Cullens would scamper 85 yards to the one on the very next play, and three plays later he would run it in for the game’s first score.

Over the course of the game Cullens would find pay dirt two more times. Mills launched two long, beautiful scoring tosses and would rush for one more than 50 yards, as well. It was complete offensive dominance from the first whistle to the final whistle.

While Mills was impressive all night, and played nearly every snap, it was Cullens who stood out most and earned SES Mississippi Player of the Game. Not only did he rush the ball well all night, but he was a stopper at the back end of the Viking defense.

One play that stood out to me, and he spoke with me about it after the game(interview is posted on my twitter feed), was a play where he came in and swatted a pass. South Pontotoc quarterback Cole Brown launched a pass to a seemingly open receiver, but Cullens came from out of sight, laid out, and swatted the ball to the ground. An impressive play when you consider the effort to bat a ball down, not intercept it. It was that kind of effort that Cullens displayed, on both sides, all night.

Cullens is committed to play his college football at Memphis, and will likely end up as a safety on the next level.

With the win North Pontotoc claimed region 4-3A and will host Ruleville on Friday night. South Pontotoc will travel to face Cleveland-East Side.

Coach Brian Sutton said after the game that he told his team before the season they would have to be perfect to take the division this season. He continued to say it was something they talked about throughout the year and something they strived for.

Other players that impressed me:

North Ponototoc - Demarcus Rogers, Deandrea Finley, Brendon Fields, Jaquez Berry, Jerrell Miller, Corley Hooper, Jacoby O’neal, Hunter Boland, Joshua Davis and Hunter West.

South Ponototoc - Nathan Hester, Tyrese Fitzpatrick, Lee McCollum, Troy Bone, Treylyn Berry, Eddie Ivy, Allan Hall and Brett Riley.

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