It was a game between two teams that haven’t faced each other in three years. And when the dust settled Friday night at John I. Hurst Stadium on SMCC’s campus it was the North Pike Jaguars who held on to defeat the McComb Tigers 27-24
“We basically said ‘here we come, we are going to run it right here, we are going to be physical’ and we did that tonight,” North Pike head coach Chris Smith said.
The Jaguar (4-4, 1-1) defense stepped up first, preventing the Tigers (4-3, 0-2) from getting their offense going.
North Pike made immediately made an impact on offense. On the first Jaguar play from scrimmage, Damuriyon Montgomery sliced through the Jaguar defense and into the end zone from 40 yards out. Jace Brown added the PAT giving North Pike the 7-0 advantage.
Two drives later, the Tigers were called for a holding penalty backing them up to their own 7. However, that didn’t seem to faze McComb one bit. Junior quarterback Chris Roberson and sophomore running back Wil’Tavious Hebert helped lead a 10-play 93-yard drive that culminated with a 3-yard scoring run by Hebert. The point after was missed but the Tigers pulled within one at 7-6.
The North Pike offense didn’t even have to take the field for the Jaguars to respond. Jacoby Matthews took the ensuing kickoff 81 yards to the house and with the Brown extra point, North Pike enjoyed a 14-6 advantage.
“I went toward the sideline and everyone was getting blocks,” Matthews said. “I had one guy to beat and I beat him.”
The score fired up the defense as two plays into the ensuing drive, the momentum grew as Fred Lewis snagged a Roberson pass giving possession back to the Jaguars.
Taking over at the Tiger 38-yard line, McComb got a heavy dose of Montgomery who recorded 27 yards on four carries on the drive helping to set the Jaguars up in the red zone. And even though a costly penalty backed North Pike up to the Tiger 29-yard line, it didn’t seem to matter to quarterback Alijah Martin who found Matthews for the score on the ensuing play increasing the advantage to 20-6 with 8:05 to go until halftime.
But the Tigers went back to what had worked so well for them up to that point in the contest and that was feeding the ball to Hebert, who did not disappoint. He helped lead McComb down inside the 5-yard line where his running mate Ja’qaveon Anderson finished off the drive with a 3-yard touchdown making the score 20-12 late in the first half.
Halfway through the third quarter, the Tigers pulled close once again as Roberson hooked up with Edric Spurlock on a 24-yard touchdown strike making the score 20-18.
Fueled by the touchdown, the Tiger defense made a quick impact stopping Montgomery for a loss putting the Jaguars behind the 8-ball early in the next drive. A 3-and-out gave the ball right back to McComb and it didn’t take long for the Tigers to grab their first lead of the night.
On the first play of the ensuing drive, Roberson again found Spurlock, this time from 47-yards out giving McComb the 24-20 lead with 4:15 to go in the third quarter.
Afterward, North Pike regained the upper hand after putting together a lengthy drive taking over 6:00 off the clock. Facing a 3rd and goal from the 3-yard line, Martin took it upon himself to give the Jaguars the lead once again plunging into the end zone. With the Brown extra point, North Pike jumped back on top 27-24 with 9:53 to go.
The Tigers moved the ball down the field but a bad snap on a play and Roberson trying desperately making something out of nothing resulted in a big loss giving McComb a 3rd and long.
Following a punt, Martin and North Pike played efficiently, as the senior quarterback picked up first downs on a couple of 4th and short plays. From there, the Jaguars ran out the clock preserving the win.
Fred Lewis said that the win is a statement proving some of the doubters wrong.
“It is really big because people have been talking down on us and saying that we will lose against McComb,” he said. “We hung around and we beat them.”
Montgomery added that the win was big, giving credit to his guys on the other side of the ball saying that they played a key role in the win. “It all started with the defense,” he said. “The defense had to do their job in order for us to get the ball.”
After the game McComb head coach Willie Brown explained that he was disappointed that his team couldn’t pull out the win after putting up a strong effort.
“It was a close loss,” he said. “We thought that we had the better team, but we came up short. We have to walk out here with our heads up.”
Montgomery led the Jaguars with 130 yards and a score on 23 carries. Martin recorded one touchdown on the ground and another through the air. Matthews also finished with two scores on the evening.
The Tigers were led by Hebert who had 14 rushes for 115 yards and a touchdown.