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Fumbles, sacks, interceptions doom Trojans

Winnfield’s Leroy Hardwell and Josh Cox sack Ferriday quarterback Shannon Morales  during the third quarter of Ferriday’s 46-13 home loss. (Ben Hillyer \ The Natchez Democrat)
Winnfield’s Leroy Hardwell and Josh Cox sack Ferriday quarterback Shannon Morales during the third quarter of Ferriday’s 46-13 home loss. (Ben Hillyer \ The Natchez Democrat)

FERRIDAY — It was a comedy of errors for Ferriday High School, but the end result was no laughing matter as the Trojans fell to Winnfield High School, 46-13.

The Tigers caught the Trojans in the end zone three times for safeties, and Ferriday also had two blocked punts, two lost fumbles and four interceptions. Quarterback Shannon Morales was under pressure all evening and got sacked three times, and the Trojans had minus-19 yards rushing.

“It was just mental mistakes,” head coach Cleothis Cummings said. “The points that they scored — not to say they weren’t a good team — but we know we could play with them.”

Cummings pointed to his team’s opening touchdown, a 3-yard carry by Morales with 9:15 left in the first quarter that was set up by a 45-yard reception by Adrian Wiggins, as evidence that his team had the ability to make it a much better game.

Ferriday’s Jaylin Neal tries to take the ball down the field against Winnfield’s J.T. Riser. (Ben Hillyer \ The Natchez Democrat)
Ferriday’s Jaylin Neal tries to take the ball down the field against Winnfield’s J.T. Riser. (Ben Hillyer \ The Natchez Democrat)

“Coming out early and getting on the board first, that was a big plus,” Cummings said. “That right there shows our kids that we are capable of playing with the big boys. The thing is now, we’re just going to regroup.”

But after the opening touchdown, Ferriday wouldn’t get on the board again until the 4:50 mark in the third quarter when Jaylin Neal took a kickoff return 87 yards for a touchdown. By that point, the Trojans were trailing 39-7.

“Before we ran out for the kickoff, everyone told me, ‘I got your block, just follow me,’” Neal said. “Everyone believed.”

Winnfield cut Ferriday’s lead to 7-6 with 3:59 left in the first on a 25-yard carry by J’Anthony Foster. Winnfield got its first safety when Leroy Hardwell tackled Morales in the end zone at the 3:25 mark in the first.

In the second quarter, the Tigers scored again on a 1-yard carry by Justin Johnson. Darrion Hardwell added a touchdown on a 36-yard interception return, and Winnfield got another safety when the Trojans snapped the ball over their punter’s head and through the back of the end zone with 3:28 left in the second quarter. The Tigers led 24-7 at intermission.

The Tigers scored three more times before Neal’s kickoff return in the third. Foster had a 4-yard touchdown carry with 10:22 to go in the third, and Neal was tackled in the end zone at the 7:35 mark for another safety. Chris Bush had an 8-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown with 5:10 remaining in the third for Winnfield.

Just 25 seconds after Ferriday scored its second touchdown, Winnfield scored its final touchdown of the night on a 67-yard run by Deontra Jackson with 4:25 remaining in the third.

Despite the constant pressure by Winnfield, Morales managed to tally 162 yards through the air. He was 15-for-28 in passing with four interceptions. Wiggins finished the game as the team’s leading receiver, getting 101 yards on five catches.

Ferriday (2-6, 0-3) will travel to Jonesboro-Hodge High School next week.

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