By JAMES CARSKADON
For the Starkville Daily News
Despite blowing out McAdams 54-0, East Oktibbeha head coach Randy Brooks still had plenty to be frustrated about after Friday night’s contest.
With the Titans (2-0) comfortably ahead 46-0 early in the third quarter, a skirmish broke out between a few players on the field, resulting in four ejections, three of which were on the East Oktibbeha side.
It was unclear what started the fight, but it will cost Jamarquiz Page, Arthur Gillespie and Terrence Rice two quarters of playing time next week against 4A North Pontotoc.
“We lost our focus,” Brooks said. “They know I don’t tolerate classlessness. I preach all the time that you have to be a classy organization. Those are three seniors that know better. To say that I’m upset is an understatement. The things I want to say, you can’t print.”
Before and after the fight, it was all East Oktibbeha against a struggling McAdams team. The Titans scored on their first drive of the game with a 6-yard run from Justin Williams to set the tone early.
The Titans would go on to add five more touchdowns in the first half, four of which came on the ground. The passing touchdown came on as 11-yard strike from Devalyn Bell to Jamal Halbert.
While the offense ran all over the Bulldogs, on the other side of the ball, the Titans defense was stifling. McAdams never had a serious scoring threat and turned the ball over seven times, six of which came in the first half.
Even when the Titans’ coaches were trying to take it easy before the half, Terrence Rice broke off a 39-yard run for a touchdown with just 11 seconds to go before the intermission.
After the on-field altercation early in the second half, play got chippy on both sides of the ball with penalties becoming more frequent. With the clock running, scoring slowed down in the second half, but the Titans still added another score on a 26-yard run from Kody Petty to give the game a final score of 54-0.
East Oktibbeha ended the night with 252 yards rushing, which was part of Brooks’ plan.
“We wanted to establish the run, and we did,” Brooks said. “The statistics don’t look very good in terms of passing. In order to pass the ball well we have to establish the run.”
Individually leading the way for the Titans was James Brown with 76 yards rushing and two touchdowns, while Williams also had two touchdowns and 21 yards rushing.
Attrition took its toll on McAdams roster, leaving head coach Ras Bayles in a bind. The Bulldogs entered the game with 20 on their roster, but injuries to five seniors and the one ejection left him with few options on the bench.
“To get five injuries to your main players, that’s huge,” Bayles said. “We’re going to have to figure out what we can do for the rest of the year. That’s the way it goes.”
Meanwhile East Oktibbeha, who has 19 players on the roster, will enter its game against North Pontotoc short-handed. Brooks said North Pontotoc’s roster has 63 players on the roster, which the Titans will have to adjust to both on and off the field.
“They’re going to have so many players they’re probably going to have to dress in our gym,” Brooks said. “That locker room down there won’t hold them.”