By Austin Bishop
The Choctaw Plaindealer
French Camp Academy used strong performances from a pair of it’s big game players to take a 17-13 come-from-behind win over visiting Starkville Academy on Friday night.
Senior quarterback Jesse Hosket hit on 14-of-16 passes for 217 yards and two touchdowns, while making a whopping 15 tackles on defense and fellow senior Hagan Box rushed for 68 yards on 12 carries, had six receptions for 75 more yards and hauled in a game-clinching interception with 1:49 left in the game to lead the Panthers to their fourth consecutive win.
While Box and Hosket had big nights, so did sophomore Corrie Witt who gathered in scoring passes of 73 and 37 yards for FCA’s lone touchdowns of the night.
“We had some guys who made some big plays and that was the difference in the game,” said FCA head coach Nathan Wright. “They (the Volunteers of Starkville Academy) were really coached up well and got after us.”
After reeling off three consecutive Region 3-1A wins, the Panthers were ready to play an out-of-district game. Oct. 11 was originally schedule to be an open date for the Panthers, but Wright decided to add SA to the schedule right before the season began.
“We probably could have used the week off, but we had some guys who were able to rest a little anyway and take care off some nagging injuries, so we should be okay when we get back into district play,” Wright said.
That will be this week when the Panthers, now 3-1 in league action and 4-4 overall, make the trip to Pelahatchie to take on the 5-2 Chiefs. PHS was undefeated in Region 3-1A play until it ran into Noxapater last week. The visiting Tigers took a solid 5-1 win over Pelahatchie to take a firm grip on the Region 3-1A lead.
“It looks like whoever wins this game will have the best shot at finishing second,” Wright said. “It’s not a for certain, thing, but it will give you a little bit of an advantage.” Four teams out of Region 3-1A will advance to the MHSAA Class 1A State Football Playoffs, with the top two hosting a first-round game.
The Panthers took a 7-0 lead over the visiting Volunteers in a hurry on Friday night, as Hosket hit Witt with a 73-yard scoring strike on FCA’s first possession and Sam Gould knocked through the extra point.
Starkville came back to tie the game at 7-7 later in the quarter, but Gould gave the Panthers a 10-7 edge at the half with a 36-yard field goal with just 23 seconds left on the second quarter clock.
After SA went up 13-10 in the third quarter, the Panthers took the lead for good with just 3:48 left to play when Hosket hit Witt with a 37-yard touchdown pass and Gould booted the point after to make it 17-13.
“Jesse had a really good game,” Wright said of Hosket. “We did a few things a little different to give him a little more time to throw the ball and that made a big difference.”
Michael Erving rushed for 49 yards on 10 carries, while Hosket had nine attempts for 42 yards. Witt finished the night with four catches for 137 yards.
Jevante McAdory had nine tackles and a sack for the Panthers, while Nyang Wek recorded eight stops and David Pendleton, Cortez Kennedy and Box had six each. Kennedy had two sacks and a fumble recovery, while Pendleton, Matthew Castle and Box had a sack each. Castle finished the night with five stops.