By Austin Bishop
The Choctaw Plaindealer
Once the adrenaline rush began to ease up, the Chargers of Choctaw County High School went to work on Friday night, scoring 30 second-quarter points on the way to a 50-13 season-opening win over rival French Camp Academy.
“I think we just had to get calmed down and settled into the game,” CCHS head coach Adam Dillinger said of the first quarter that saw the visiting Panthers take a 6-0 lead after on quarter of play. “Our kids were just keyed up and ready to go. Maybe they were just too keyed up and had to work some of the jitters out.”
“I thought we played really well as long as we were fresh, which was for about a quarter and a half,” said FCA head coach Nathan Wright. “I was really pleased with our effort over all. It is obvious we are really wet behind the ears. When we had to try and change some things and make some defensive adjustments, we had some problems.”
The Panthers took a 6-0 lead on a 33-yard touchdown pass from Luke McNight to Nyang Wek. McKnight finished the night by hitting on 4-of-8 passes for 80 yards and rushing for 80 more yards on 11 carries.
Choctaw County scored four touchdowns in the second quarter, beginning by taking a 7-6 lead on a 13-yard run by quarterback Jamarcus Bradley and an extra point kick by David Ramirez. The Chargers, now 1-0 on the year, stretched that out to 15-6 on an 8-yard scoring run by Marquel Kennedy and a two-point conversion run by Anquan Smith. Other second quarter touchdowns came on a 40-yard run by Kennedy and a 1-yard run by Bradley. Vowell had a two-point conversion run and Ramirez and extra point kick to make it 30-6 at the half.
The Chargers stretched that out to 36-6 in the third quarter on a 1-yard run by Smith. FCA’s Wek returned the ensuing kickoff 62 yards for a touchdown, cutting the CCHS lead to 36-13 after Adam Nebk’s extra point kick.
Choctaw County picked up another third-quarter score on a 47-yard punt return by Jemarkis Fair. Fair then closed out the scoring with a 4-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.
Tyler Riley led all CCHS rushers with 90 yards on nine carries, while Bradley hit on 6-of-15 passes for 206 yards and Clay Grissom caught six passes for 119 yards and Kennedy two for 87.
“We mostly ran deep routes,” Dillinger said of the passing game. “We didn’t have any touchdown passes, but we set up several touchdowns with good pass plays.”
Grovonte Stewart led FCA with six tackles, while Isaiah Miller, Wek, and Emmanuel Nawi had five stops each. Recording four tackles apiece were Zac Couture and Matthew Castle.
“There really were a lot of bright spots,” Wright said. “We are just playing some very good teams to start the season. I feel like our club is going to be better than even we expected. We just have a lot of work to get better.”
FCA is set to host Eupora on Friday, while Choctaw County is visiting Winona.