By AUSTIN BISHOP
For Starkville Daily News
FRENCH CAMP — K.J. Woods ran wild for Ackerman High School on Friday night, rushing for 198 yards and scoring four touchdowns, but it was a pair of key defensive plays early in the third quarter that sealed the deal for the Indians in a 25-7 win over Choctaw County rival French Camp Academy.
With his team leading 12-7 at the half, Ackerman's Alex Foust recovered fumbles on back-to-back series that led to short touchdown drives for the Indians as they quickly took control of the contest in the early stages of the second half.
"Anytime you can get a turnover that's huge, and we did it," said Ackerman head coach Adam Dillinger, who saw his Indians improve to 2-1 on the season. "We told them at halftime it wasn't over. They (the Indians) took some pride in this. They wanted to win."
The Ackerman defense was able to put pressure on FCA quarterback Jesse Hosket throughout the night, but especially after the Indians began to stretch out their lead.
"That was our goal for the week," he said. "I was so proud of the effort they gave and they got after it."
Foust said pressure on the quarterback was the key.
"They are a passing team," Foust said of FCA. "We defended the pass. We wanted our cornerbacks to do good, but we had to do our job and put pressure on them."
Despite getting ahead 25-7 after Woods' fourth touchdown run with just over 4 minutes left in the third quarter, Foust said the Indians didn't want to let up
"Even after getting ahead, we didn't want to let up and take our foot off the throat," he said. "We knew we had to keep playing."
Ackerman took a 6-0 lead with 1:02 left in the first quarter when Woods broke loose for a 44-yard touchdown run.
French Camp, now 2-1 this year, took a 7-6 lead when Desmond Grayson scored on an 18-yard run and Denny Johnson booted the extra point with 2:47 left in the half. The Indians retook the lead on a 3-yard run by Woods with 14.9 seconds left in the half.
Woods closed out the scoring in the third quarter when a pair of 2-yard touchdown runs closed out short scoring drives of 20 and 23 yards.
French Camp returns home on Friday night to host McAdams, while the Indians of AHS will entertain Class 4A Houston.