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CRAWFORD â€“ The East Oktibbeha Titans fell to 0-2 this season after a 20-12 loss to rival West Lowndes Friday night in their final tune-up before starting district play next week.
West Lowndes junior running back Antonio Wilson proved to be too much to handle for the Titans, setting the tone early with a 79-yard touchdown run on the second play from scrimmage. Wilson went on to rush for 199 yards and gain 43-yards receiving coming out of the backfield.
The Titans only chance to take the lead in the game came early in the fourth quarter when they were down by two and on the West Lowndes 9-yard line after a 20-yard run by senior quarterback Chris Hunter. Unfortunately for the Titans, Hunterâ€™s next pass was intercepted by Tyquan Lucious, ending the scoring threat.
First-year head coach Randy Brooks said the interception was one of many mistakes made by upperclassmen in the game.
â€śWe had the proper play called where he throws the ball to the corner of the end zone to the receiver, and he threw it in the middle of the field,â€ť Brooks said. â€śOnce again that is one of those lapse of judgments that we keep making.â€ť
Hunter did have his bright spots in the game, which came in the form of two long touchdown passes. Hunter found Kortland Petty for a 33-yard score in the second quarter, and a 37-yard touchdown pass to Juwan Roberts brought the Titans back from a 14-0 deficit to 14-12 with 3:20 left in the third quarter.
Both Petty and Roberts rebounded from mistakes earlier in the game to haul in the touchdowns. Petty let two passes slip through his hands with room to run ahead of him in the first half, and Roberts was burned on the corner by West Lowndes receiver Jamarquis Humphries for a 32-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter. Brooks said the recovery the two receivers made is a sign of the inexperienced players maturing.
"Theyâ€™re starting to mature,â€ť Brooks said. â€śRoberts is a sophomore, and Petty is a junior, and this is his first full year of football. Both of those guys are starting to show signs of maturity.â€ť
After Luciousâ€™ interception, West Lowndes used Wilson to control the ball and run the clock on the Titans, and added another touchdown on a quarterback sneak by Gerald Sanders.
A late drive by the Titans ended with another interception, and West Lowndes ran the clock out on their 20-12 victory to bring them back to .500 at 1-1.
For Brooks and the Titans, it will be a long week ahead as they prepare for district foe and cross-county rival West Oktibbeha next Friday. Brooks is looking to see more desire from his players, and avoid non-aggressive penalties like the numerous off-sides and false starts that were called in Fridayâ€™s contest.
â€śItâ€™s a lack of desire on some of our kids parts," Brooks said. "Theyâ€™ll take a play off.â€ť
When it comes to stopping Wilson, Brooks admitted that not many people will be able to stop him this season.
â€śWeâ€™re certainly not the last one that heâ€™s gonna run for over 100 yards on," Brooks said.