(Photo by Brent Shipman, Staff)
HAYTI -- Just when it looked like Hayti might put an end to Portageville's undefeated season, the Bulldogs took advantage of a couple key defensive plays in the fourth quarter to hand the Indians a 35-22 loss Friday.
"It was just a team effort," Portageville head coach Jeff Bullock said. "There are a bunch of great athletes on the other side over there. We were very fortunate, the defense did a great job.
"Coach (Gerald) Pickering and (the rest of the staff) has been working with those guys. We were able to shut (Hayti) down late."
With his team trailing 22-21 early in the final quarter, Portageville junior Carlos McGee picked off a pass near to the line of scrimmage before sprinting 55 yards unimpeded into the end zone for the go ahead touchdown.
After a two-point run from Dominique Walker, the Bulldogs pushed ahead 29-22.
"That was big for momentum there," Portageville quarterback Bryce Wallace said of McGee's interception. "That was probably the biggest play of the game."
A pick by the Bulldogs in the Indians next possession allowed Portageville to march 46 yards down the field with a 13-yard touchdown run from Denzell Simmons putting Portageville (5-0) ahead 35-22 with 4:39 to play.
Hayti (2-3) tried to mount one last comeback attempt but a pass in the end zone on fourth down was broken up in the final minutes.
Taking over on downs, the Bulldogs ran off the final minute on kneel downs to end the game.
Though the were out-gained 351 to 287 in total yards, Portageville's offense took advantage of several Indian mistakes to score 14 points in a span of 14 seconds.
Trailing 14-7 late in the third quarter, Portageville got the ball on Hayti's 10-yard line after an Indians fumble.
On their first play of the drive, Daniel Allen took the ball up the right side to close his team's deficit to 14-13.
Another fumble on the ensuing kickoff allowed Wallace to hook up with Hunter Cook from 22 yards out, pushing the Bulldogs ahead 21-14 after Allen ran in the 2-point conversion.
"They played in big time so he was wide open and it was pitch and catch," Wallace said. "I'm glad he was there."
It was on Hayti's ensuing drive that Karnard Humes connected with Demetrius Luster for a 54-yard touchdown to push back ahead 22-21 with 2:13 left in the quarter.
Controlling the clock, Portageville rushed for 218 yards on 52 carries with workhorse Allen doing the heavy lifting.
Allen ran 31 times for 153 yards, a score for a 4.9 per carry average.
Crediting the play of his line for his team's success, Allen said, "They blocked well for me, Dominique, Denzell and Dion (Foster). We just lowered our shoulders and ran over people. That's just what we do."
Humes accounted for most of Hayti's offense, throwing for 262 yards and running for another 53 yards and a touchdown.
H -- Karnard Humes 64 run (pass intercepted), 3:24
P -- Hunter Cook 22 pass from Bryce Wallace, (kick good), 10:40
H -- Jamal Brooks 1 run (Cedric Harris pass from Karnard Humes good), 9:10
P -- Daniel Allen 10 run (kick blocked), 4:46
P -- Hunter Cook 22 pass from Bryce Wallace (Daniel Allen run good), 4:32
H -- Demetrius Luster 54 pass from Karnard Humes (Karnard Humes run good), 2:13
P -- Carlos McGee 55 interception (Dominique Walker run good), 9:09
P -- Denzell Simmons 13 run (run bad), 4:39
Rushes -- Portageville, Daniel Allen 31-153, Dion Foster 2-8, No. 49 1-1, Bryce Wallace 7-(-4), Dominique Walker 8-40, Denzell Simmons 3-20. Hayti, Demetrius Luster 1-9, Michael Thomas 7-20, Karnard Humes 10-53, Jamal Brooks 4-6, Cedric Harris 1-1.
Passing -- Portageville, Bryce Wallace 6-9-2 69. Hayti, Karnard Humes 12-24-1 262, Demetrius Luster 0-1-0 0.
Receiving -- Portageville, Ben Story 2-30, Dion Foster 1-1, Hunter Cook 2-44, Daniel Allen 1-(-6). Hayti, Cedric Harris 2-24, Michael Thomas 3-38, Demetrius Luster 3-114, Maurin Newbill 3-67, Armond Spann 1-19.