Sports roundup: Tigers head into the playoffs

Photo: Hernando’s Brody Martin runs to avoid the Olive Branch defense in the Tigers’ 24-20 victory Thursday night. (Bob Bakken/DeSoto County Sports)

THE VITAL STATISTICS 

Football

Hernando 24, Olive Branch 20

Southaven 21, Horn Lake 7

Lafayette (Oxford) 28, Lake Cormorant 19

DeSoto Central 35, Lewisburg 22

South Panola 42, Center Hill 9

DeSoto County football scores/schedules

Boys Basketball

Lake Cormorant 57, Senatobia 45

New Albany 76, Lewisburg 65

Hernando at North Panola (postponed)

Girls Basketball

Senatobia 49, Lake Cormorant 44

Lewisburg 54, New Albany 39

Hernando at North Panola (postponed) 

Boys Soccer

DeSoto Central 4, North Pontotoc 0

Girls Soccer

DeSoto Central 9, North Pontotoc 0

TIGERS HEAD INTO PLAYOFFS

The Hernando High School Tigers football season hung with the result of one play Thursday night. It all came down to one thing: keep the Olive Branch offense out of the end zone and head into the playoffs, or see the hopes of returning to the MHSAA 6A postseason be dashed with a last-second Conquistadors’ touchdown.  

From about the Hernando 21 yard line, quarterback Brayden Wright and the Quistors’ offense had gotten within striking distance. However, the clock had wound down to 1.8 seconds left in the game and no Olive Branch timeouts remaining. 

It was up to Wright to find a receiver open and in the end zone to “snatch victory from the jaws of defeat,” as one might say. The Olive Branch quarterback never got the chance, however, as he was sacked behind the line of scrimmage as the clock hit zeroes, a moment captured on video thanks to Keith Fulcher of Hernando. 

Final play as Hernando defeats Olive Branch 24-20 (Courtesy Keith Fulcher)

It was the finish Hernando needed to return to the 6A playoffs, where last season the Tigers reached the second round before losing to eventual state runner-up Oxford 41-26.  

“I’m super-excited for these kids,” said Hernando coach Will Wolfe after the game. “They’ve played really good football this year.”  

Hernando took a 9-7 lead into halftime Thursday night, scoring first with 10:30 left before halftime on a three-yard run from Christopher Jones for a 6-0 lead. Jones took a direct snap and plowed into the end zone for the first score. A fumbled snap on the extra-point try kept the Tigers just six points ahead after the touchdown.  

Olive Branch recovered and took the lead about seven minutes later, when standout running back Tralyn Oliver scored the first of his two touchdowns for the night, going over from three yards away with 3:24 remaining before halftime. The extra-point kick was good to give the Quistors a 7-6 lead. 

Olive Branch running back Tralyn Oliver scored two of the Quistors’ three touchdowns against Hernando Thursday night. (Bob Bakken/DeSoto County Sports)

However, working quickly and moving the ball downfield, Hernando snatched the lead back with 1:44 left in the half on a 30-yard field goal from Jackson Uselton.  

In the second half, Olive Branch scored first when Oliver scored his second TD for the game, a 25-yard dash downfield for the score and a 14-9 lead with 5:58 remaining in the third quarter.  

But set up by a 70-yard pass play from Zack Wilcke to Joey Davis putting the Tigers down at Olive Branch 10, Wilcke completed the drive with a two-yard run for the score and when Jones found Bo Brankstone with the two-point pass completion, Hernando had a 17-14 lead with less than two minutes to go in the quarter. 

Hernando started to put the game away in the fourth quarter with a 26-yard touchdown pass from Wilcke to Eli Mashburn, a score that gave the Tigers a 24-14 lead with 5:45 left in the contest. 

Hernando quarterback Zach Wilcke takes a snap against Olive Branch Thursday night. (Bob Bakken/DeSoto County Sports)

But, Olive Branch came roaring back with Wright’s 12-yard scoring run putting the Conquistadors within 24-20 when the extra-point kick try failed. 

That set up the final excitement when the Quistors got possession of the ball on the ensuing onside kick and drove to the Hernando 21-yard line, before time ran out and the Tigers’ defense made a play when they and their season needed it.  

“It was back-and-forth, just a great game,” said Wolfe. “We fought well, but we left some points on the field tonight, so we gotta go back and look at the film. We have a lot of stuff to work on, but we’re going to enjoy tonight.”

WORTH NOTING…

  • Lake Cormorant led 13-0 at Lafayette (Oxford) before the Commodores came back to take the 28-19 victory, scoring 21 unanswered points for a 21-13 lead at halftime. Telvin Amos threw for three touchdowns in the Gators’ loss. 
  • Southaven had to rally from behind to claim its 21-7 victory over Horn Lake and deny the Eagles a playoff spot. The Chargers trailed 7-6 after three quarters. 
  • Marquis Fields ran for 136 yards and two touchdowns, and Lonnie Johnson III ran for 102 yards and a score in DeSoto Central’s victory over Lewisburg. Patriots’ quarterback Gunner Gilmore tossed for 170 yards and two touchdowns in the loss. 
Lewisburg quarterback Gunner Gilmore triggers a pass against DeSoto Central in the Patriots’ loss to the Jaguars Thursday night. (Photo credit: Jody McRee)
  • TyBious Ware led the Lewisburg boys with 17 points in the Patriots’ basketball loss to New Albany. Noah Jorgenson scored 14 points and Josiah Nelson added 13.
  • Allie Carroll led the Lewisburg girls in scoring with 23 points in the Lady Patriots basketball victory at New Albany Thursday night.  Allison Irby added 18 points for Lewisburg. 

PLAYOFFS PAIRINGS SET:

Here are the pairings for the North Half first round games in Class 6A and 5A. Games to be played Friday, Nov. 12. 

CLASS 6A

Oxford at South Panola

DeSoto Central at Madison Central 

Hernando at Starkville 

Clinton at Southaven

CLASS 5A

Ridgeland at West Point

Cleveland Central at Vicksburg 

Lake Cormorant at Neshoba Central 

Holmes County Central at Lafayette

SPORTS ETC.:

  • Thursday’s Hernando-North Panola boys’ and girls’ basketball games were postponed when the North Panola girls’ basketball team was placed into COVID-19 quarantine. Both teams will now play at Hernando on Nov. 15.  
  • Saturday’s basketball games with DeSoto Central and Byhalia will now be played at DeSoto Central instead of the original Byhalia location. The JV boys’ game will be at 12 noon, followed by the varsity boys’ game at 2 p.m. and the varsity girls’ game at 3:30 p.m. The teams will play at Byhalia on Tuesday, Dec. 14. 
  • It was announced on Thursday that the Mississippi High School Activities Association is moving its state championship football games this year to the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg. Dates and times for the championship games, now to be held at M.M. Roberts Stadium on the Southern Miss campus, will remain the same.  Jackson’s Veterans Stadium was to be the location for the state finals, however the venue is also home to Jackson State University football and there is a strong possibility of a scheduling conflict if JSU hosts the SWAC conference championship game.  
  • Three DeSoto County volleyball players were named to the Mississippi Association of Coaches North All-Star squad announced on Thursday. The trio representing the county are Avery Thomas of Lewisburg, Lundyn Wilson of Lake Cormorant, and DeSoto Central’s Madison Young.

TROJANS OPEN TENNESSEE PLAYOFFS FRIDAY

Northpoint Christian will begin the TSSAA Division II-AA postseason Friday night against Silverdale Academy (Chattanooga, Tenn.) in a game to be played at Lipscomb Academy in Nashville. The Trojans are 5-5 on the season and will play a Seahawks team that is 8-2 on the year. However, Silverdale has won just two of its last four games, including last week’s 35-0 loss to Christian Academy of Knoxville.  Northpoint also has to bounce back from its 42-7 loss last week to Lausanne Collegiate (Memphis), the lowest scoring output of the year for the high-powered Trojans’ offense.  

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