The Greenville High Hornets (3-2) held on for dear life to claim a 14-9 victory Friday night versus the Murrah High Mustangs (1-4).
With the Mustangs threatening to win the game in the closing seconds, the Greenville High School defensive unit stuffed the final play in the backfield at their own nine-yard line.
“I’m real emotional right now and I’m happy for these kids because they just kept fighting and didn’t give up,” said Hornets head coach Quintarius McCray. “We play a bend-but-don’t-break style of defense and that impressed me the way they kept their composure.”
On a night where both teams had trouble closing the deal offensively throughout the first three quarters, both teams put together scoring drives to open the final quarter. Hornets quarterback Ty’mitchell McCollough rolled to his right as Murrah defenders pursued and dumped a screen pass to running back Aaron Coats who did the rest. Coats knifed his way through the Mustang defense on route to a 44-yard touchdown reception. Coats followed his reception with a two-point conversion to put Greenville High up 14-2 with 11:37 remaining in the game.
“In the second half, we went to the ground game a little more,” McCray said. “I decided just to give the ball to our horse and let him make plays for us.”
On the Mustangs’ ensuing offensive drive, they answered right back with a 40-yard Jeff Johnson touchdown run. The extra point pulled Murrah to 14-9 with 9:17 remaining in the game.
After the Greenville High defense recovered a fumble at their own five-yard line, McCollough mishandled a snap from center on the ensuing offensive play. Murrah defenders pounced him in the end zone for the first points of the game on a safety. At the 3:20 mark of the first quarter, the Mustangs led 2-0. In a penalty-filled stanza for both teams, the scored remained 2-0 heading into the second quarter.
The Mustangs ended their first offensive series of the second quarter with snap at a punt attempt that sailed over the kicker Ladarrian McMullen’s head. Hornets’ special teamers tackled McMullen at the Mustangs’ 10-yard line. Two plays into the Hornets’ drive, McCollough called his own number and scored from five yards out on the quarterback keeper. The extra point failed, and Greenville High led 6-2 with 10:30 remaining in the second quarter.
Despite a long drive started by a James Cosie fumble recovery and a spectacular, tackle breaking 33-yard reception by Rufino Griffin, the Hornets offense stalled inside the five-yard line as time expired in the first half. Greenville High took a 6-2 lead into the locker room. Greenville High will travel to play Warren Central Friday at 7 p.m. in Vicksburg.