• John Macon Gillespie

Coverage Recap: Houston 27 | North Pontotoc 13

Houston was averaging 51.4 points per game on the five-game winning streak they carried into the second round of the playoffs. They wouldn’t need that many thanks to a spectacular defensive effort Friday night.

The Toppers went on the road and beat North Pontotoc 27-13. The defense not only bottled up one of the state’s best quarterbacks in Clark Mills, they also put six on the board. Zykiel Virges scooped a fumble and returned it 70 yards to kick off the scoring early in the second quarter.

Though Houston wasn’t it’s usual dominant self on offense, Urriah Shephard and Quenton May did get going in the second half. Jalen May was also a frequent playmaker. Bobby Townsend scored once on the ground, from a yard out. Shephard scored twice on the ground, including a 14-yard scamper that sealed the game in the fourth quarter.

The Toppers frustrated Mills all night long with a furious and relentless pass rush. Rish Alford, Colton Foster, Allen Robertson and company were in the star signal callers face from start to finish. The secondary stepped up and made the plays they needed to, as well.

Two quarterbacks leave this game with vastly different perspectives. For Shephard, the pursuit continues. Unfortunately for Clark Mills, his prep career comes to a close on his home field. However, he did put on one final show, slinging it deep and running around the yard. In the end, Houston’s defense was just too athletic and too prepared.

Mills put together a fantastic senior season, a bow on a memorable career.

Ty Hardin and the Houston Hilltoppers will host Yazoo County next Friday. The Panthers present another difficult test, highlighted by a talented quarterback Kenny Gainwell.

Gainwell rushed for two scores and threw for another in a win against Water Valley last night. He is the only quarterback in the state with more passing yards than Mills. He also presents a challenge with his feet. While North Pontotoc came in riding high with eight straight wins, Yazoo County comes in winners of 12 straight.

The other matchup in the 3A North bracket next Friday is Choctaw County at North Panola.

#Houston #JohnLukeMcCord

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