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Itawamba was one play better on Friday, escaping Kitchens’ Field with a 44-43 win against New Albany.
Scoring 23 points in the fourth quarter, the Indians came from behind to tie the game at 37, and in overtime, took the lead on a touchdown run by Charles Moore. The Bulldogs answered with Spencer Day running in from one yard out, but on the extra point attempt, Eathen Rainey’s kick was blocked, giving the Indians the win.
“Itawamba got the momentum in the end of the third quarter, and they carried that into the fourth quarter,” New Albany head coach Ron Price said. “When they needed a big play, they came through. We were very close there to getting off the field or getting an interception, but we just couldn’t make the play.”
“In a game like this, it’s the team that makes the big play last that’s going to win, and unfortunately tonight, Itawamba made one more play than we did. Give them credit; their kids played an outstanding football game. They had an opportunity to give up, and they never did, so give them all the credit, and give them the win tonight.”
The Indians struck first in the opening quarter, scoring on a run by quarterback Tyler Dossett. Boston Newsome later tied the game on his first of two touchdowns, and with 1:08 left in the quarter, Itawamba had their first of four turnovers that resulted in New Albany touchdowns.
“We played a good football game against a good football team,” Price said. “I’m very proud of our offense tonight. I feel like we moved the ball up and down the field. There when we needed a big drive or play to put the game away, we were unable to do that.”
O.J. Hardin had his first of three touchdowns in the opening minute of the second quarter, but after a blocked extra point, Dossett gave Itawamba the lead on the ensuing drive, finding Peyton Green for the 14-13 lead.
Rainey put the Bulldogs back on top with a field goal, and after a fumble recovery by Devonte Bradley, Hardin had his second touchdown with less than a minute remaining before the half.
Newsome and Hardin each scored once more in the third quarter, and the Bulldogs led 37-14 going into the fourth. Newsome finished the night rushing for 171 yards, and Hardin finished with 35 yards on the ground.
“I’m very proud at the way Boston and O.J. ran the ball tonight,” Price said. “I thought we took care of the ball on offense tonight. We created a lot of turnovers on defense.”
Itawamba’s comeback started with an interception of Day, putting the Indians on New Albany’s 15-yard line. Dossett later ran in for the score, and the Indians cut the deficit to eight on a run by Green and Moore converted on the two-point conversion. Itawamba tied the game with 1:34 remaining on a touchdown run by Moore and Dossett found Braxton West to tie the game at 37.
“It was just a tough game, and it hurts me like crazy to have to go into the locker room after losing that game, but our kids gave outstanding effort tonight, and we just came up on the short end of the stick,” Price said.
Day finished the night 5-for-11 for 65 yards, and Clay was the top receiver with 45 yards on two receptions. On defense, Brady Barnes led with 13 tackles, followed Danortis McWilliams with 11 tackles and Chandler Nail with 10.
New Albany, 1-1, will be on the road next week at Pontotoc.