Wynne (3-1, 1-0 5A-East) may have lost 26 players (including two quarterbacks) from last year's conference championship team, but they didn't seem to skip a beat Friday night. After forcing Blytheville (1-3, 0-1 5A-East) to punt on a three-and-out opening drive, the Yellowjackets needed just two plays and 35 seconds to go 48 yards for a score and a 7-0 lead with 9:21 to play in the first quarter.
Wynne dominated the first half scoring touchdowns on four of their five possessions. They moved the ball with ease through the air and especially on the ground.
On a night when the Yellowjackets retired the number of former running back and current NFL Carolina Panther running back DeAngelo Williams before the game, current running back, Antonio Davis, rushed for 90 yards in the half and scored three of the four touchdowns including the game opener. He ran for a total of 147 yards on the night. His 54-yard run to pay dirt early in the third quarter was his fourth score of the night and basically closed the door on the Chickasaws as the "Mercy Clock" was invoked for the final quarter and a half. He also had a pair of two-yard scores in the first half with the second one coming two plays after Wynne recovered a blocked punt at the Chickasaw 11-yard line with just under six minutes to play in the half. The touchdown gave Wynne a 28-0 lead.
Quarterback Zach Morris gained 47 yards on the ground as well. He was equally effective through the air completing five of seven first half passes for 67 yards and a touchdown. His 13-yard touchdown pass to Timothy Strasser with 7:56 left in the half gave Wynne a commanding 21-0 lead.
|"Their center and guards really just blew us off the ball tonight," said Blytheville assistant coach Ben Fisher. "Even when it seemed like we stopped them, they would make a move and pick up yards."||Davis' 90 rushing yards nearly doubled the entire offensive output of the Chickasaws in the first half. Blytheville managed only 50 total yards over the first two quarters with nearly all of it, including their first first down of the game, coming on their final drive of the half. In the only deep scoring threat of the game, Blytheville drove the ball inside the Wynne 20 thanks to 34 yards rushing from Antonio Knox before the Yellowjackets picked off a Bailey Cason pass in the end zone for a touchback.|
Fisher said it was a combination of the Yellowjacket defense and poor execution on offense that contributed to the Chickasaws lack of production.
"It was a lot of both," he said. "We weren't ready for their speed. You can't simulate that in practice. I thought we were ready to play tonight," said Fisher. "We were focused. We weren't playing around before the game or on the bus ride over. I don't know if we were overwhelmed or what."
Fisher said that if things are going to improve, it has to begin with the attitude on the practice field.
"I told the kids, I bet they (Wynne) run every sprint in practice and run them hard. Not just the first five. They're running all 10, all 12, all 15 of them. If we want to get there, that's what we've got to start doing. We're starting to get there. Last week coach (Joey) Mosley has been on them in the weight room. We've been on them hard after practice. We sat three guys tonight that didn't start and left one of them home. That's what we've got to do. If we want to get there, that's what we've got to do. They're going to have to buy into it or change your schedule."
Assistant coach Mosley echoed a similar sentiment.
"The mentality is not there right now," he said. "That's the main thing we're trying to work on. We're wanting to win but we're also trying to change these kids mindset on what we're doing. Until they buy into the discipline and team effort and doing the right things, we're not going to get there. It's slowly but surely coming along but every single one of them has got to buy into it."
They'll need to buy into it quickly with Nettleton coming to town next week. The Raiders, who lost to Batesville Friday night, run a similar style offense and the Chicks can't afford to drop two straight conference games if they want to contend for a playoff spot.
"I started watching some film on Nettleton," said Fisher. "They run a lot of the things Wynne does. I told the kids that it doesn't get any easier from here with Nettleton coming in. I really thought we were ready to play tonight. I just hope we're ready next week."