A Closer Look: Tupelo's Puckett Tricks Tigers
Tupelo had not won in Batesville since 2001 entering their matchup back on October 13(Friday, the 13th). As the undefeated Wave trailed 21-10 just before half, it appeared that streak would live until 2019.
Until a special teams play turned the game on it’s head. On a field goal attempt from the 14 yard line, Hammond sent in two new faces to hold and kick. Trip Wilson was the holder and Peyton Puckett lined up at kicker. Both sophomores, the duo would combine on a touchdown toss that saw Wilson pitch it Puckett following the snap, and finally Puckett passing it back to Wilson for the score.
Puckett, who could end up at quarterback down the road, delivered a beautiful ball into the hands of Wilson, just beyond the defender and going into the end zone. The execution was excellent, as well.
After that trickery, Jett Johnson connected with Peter Gray on pass for the two-point conversion. Tupelo totally changed the feel of the game, even though they walked into the locker room down 21-18.
“It got the sidelines really hype. We knew we had the momentum going into the half, so we had to capitalize,” Puckett told SES Mississippi.
“We had put the play in a couple weeks prior to the South Panola game. We repeated it almost every day during special teams period leading up to the game. The repetition of the play helped me know where to place the ball.”
The sophomore has produced his share of big plays in his first season of varsity football. He’s averaging 19.4 yards per catch and has caught two touchdowns. Additionally, Puckett has already committed to Mississippi State’s baseball program prior to his first career varsity game.
Needless to say, the sophomore has experienced some special sports moments. But that throw against USP was big. It was his first career touchdown pass, and it put his team back in the game.
“It meant a lot to me because I knew I had a special role to play,” He explained. “I saw the defense looked like they were about to come hard. So I knew I had to get rid of the ball pretty quick, so that’s what I did. I saw that Trip Wilson had beat his defender, so that’s when I threw the ball up fro grabs and he made one heck of a catch on it.”
For the most seasoned Tupelo football fans, the sequence likely took you back in time a bit. Back in 2014, Trent Hammond’s second season as head coach of the Wave, they executed the same play against former division foe Olive Branch. The pass was from then sophomore quarterback Ray Sandroni to current Georgia Bulldog defensive back Jarvis Wilson.
“That was actually Ray’s first passing touchdown, too,” Puckett said.
Tonight Tupelo hits the road to face Horn Lake, with a division title on the line. If the Wave win, they’re your 2017 1-6A champs.
**Photo courtesy of Markietha Swinney