Former Coahoma County High School principal Lynn Lang came in to his old stomping ground as O’Bannon head football coach Thursday night as two teams battled for their first Region 3-2A victory.
The Red Panthers (1-6, 0-2) took an early 8-0 lead, but injuries, mistakes and lack of field position proved costly. Lang and the Greenwaves pulled away to win at Coahoma County 35-8.
O’Bannon turned the ball over on downs its first possession giving the Red Panthers possession at the Greenwaves 44-yard-line with 9:35 remaining in the first quarter. Senior running back Clintavious Davis carried the ball on the first play and O’Bannon was called for a 15-yard face mask penalty.
After running plays with junior quarterback Lamont Lee and junior running back Eddie Henderson, the Red Panthers were in a fourth down and three situation. CCHS drew O’Bannon offsides for a 5-yard penalty giving the Red Panthers a first down at the Greenwaves 18 with 6:56 to play in the first quarter.
That set up a Davis 2-yard touchdown run with 4:29 remaining in the quarter. He ran in the 2-point conversion to give CCHS an 8-0 lead.
After the early score, everything went O’Bannon’s way.
The Greenwaves scored three second quarter touchdowns to take a 22-8 halftime lead.
“If you could name one thing to go wrong, you aren’t naming enough,” said CCHS coach Mario Lane. “With all the unforeseeable mishaps we have, it’s weighing on us, but we can do anything but come out here every day and try to fight. I’m proud of the effort that the young guys had. We played a lot of young guys that hadn’t been playing. They gave good effort. We’re thin in the line. We asked our guys to go both ways. They did a great job.”
Senior wide receiver Tarkevius Logan injured his ankle in school and unsuccessfully tried to play.
“He tried to give it a go, but after we recognized it, he couldn’t,” Lane said.
Senior lineman Joseph Qualls was ejected with 9:19 remaining in the first half for two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties. He must miss a full four quarters, which means he will not be eligible to play until there is 9:19 remaining in the second quarter when Charleston comes to town Friday, Oct. 18.
O’Bannon’s first touchdown came with 11:53 remaining in the first half with a 3-yard pass on a fourth and goal play.
The Red Panthers had a fourth down and 30 at their own 10 on the ensuing drive. The Greenwaves pushed sacked Lee to push CCHS back.
Sophomore Christian Banks was forced to punt out of his own end zone and O’Bannon started its possession at the Red Panthers 23.
Two plays later, the Greenwaves ran for an 18-yard touchdown up the middle to take a 14-8.
After Banks’ next punt, O’Bannon opened its drive at the Red Panthers 40 with 7:38 remaining in the first half. The Greenwaves ran for a 40-yard touchdown the following play to extend their lead to 22-8.
O’Bannon intercepted a Lee pass at the Red Panthers 31 with 1:09 left in the first half, but the quarter ended during the possession.
O’Bannon also had a 15-yard touchdown run with 4:53 to play in the first quarter.
Lee completed a pass to freshman wide receiver and defensive back Markevious Thomas in the second half. It appeared Thomas had a first down, but a defensive player on the Greenwaves took the ball away from him and forced a fumble.
O’Bannon had a 5-yard touchdown run with 3:17 remaining in the fourth quarter for its final score.
Lane said with CCHS losing many athletes, it had around 13 players available, while O’Bannon has a roster of around 40.
“That’s tough on us,” Lane said. “That’s tough on anybody.”
However, Lane said he saw good things from Thomas, freshman linebacker and running back Malachi McClenton and offensive and defensive lineman Fredrick Walker.
“We have a bunch of guys that’s first year and they’re just out here, just kind of giving us whatever they’ve got,” Lane said. “At some point, that’s the only thing you can ask of these kids. Like I say, what we started the season off with, we’re a shell of that right now, but the guys, they just come in and continue to work and we just make the best of a tough situation.”
Coahoma County hosts Charleston at 7 p.m. Friday.
“If we play more like we played in the second half versus what we did in the second quarter, I think we’d have a different outcome,” Lane said.