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South Pike hammers WC, 33-9

[9/13/03]MAGNOLIA The Juice was loose Friday night in Magnolia.

South Pike senior running back Jessie Burton, nicknamed “The Juice”, rushed for 118 yards on eight carries, caught an 82-yard touchdown pass and ran for two more scores as the eighth-ranked Eagles battered Warren Central, 33-9.

It was the second straight Warren Central loss to a Pike County team. One week ago, the Vikings (1-2) were beaten by McComb, 20-14.

“They hit us with big plays, and we are having trouble stopping big plays,” Warren Central coach Robert Morgan said. “It’s been like this two weeks in a row, and our offensive people are not very confident right now. Whatever we are going to have to do to fix it, we’ll fix it.”

Burton, one of a host of Eagles that can score from anywhere on the field, scored on a pass from Fred Jones midway through the second quarter to give the Eagles a 14-3 lead. Three minutes after that, Warren Central’s Otis Stamps returned a punt 63 yards for a touchdown, but a very late running into the kicker penalty gave South Pike the ball back. The Eagles ran out the first-half clock and held an 11-point halftime lead.

“We roughed the kicker on that play and that stuff is uncalled for,” Morgan said. “Those are turning points in a football game.”

Burton upped the lead to 21-3 with a 7-yard touchdown run 2 minutes, 7 seconds into the third quarter. The score came one play after South Pike linebacker Tim Brown hit WC quarterback Christian Hales to force a fumble.

Hales finished the game 6-for-18 passing and 72 yards. He was intercepted twice.

“Graduation killed us on defense last year,” said South Pike coach Randall Huffman, whose team will travel to face Vicksburg High on Friday night. “The kids we have are young, but they are learning quick. They have to grow up.”

The Eagles’ defense held Warren Central to 197 total yards of offense. Fred Payne led the Vikings with 85 yards on 17 carries, but no other WC player had more than 30 yards.

“We stepped it up a level on defense,” said Jones, who passed for 102 yards and had an interception return for a touchdown. “The line stepped it up and got us to where we are now.”

Warren Central clawed back into the game after Burton’s second touchdown, driving 65 yards in nine plays. The drive was capped by a 7-yard Jesse Pedyfoot touchdown run. The 2-point conversion pass failed, however, and WC still trailed 21-9.

In the fourth quarter with the score still 21-9, Warren Central drove to the South Pike 41-yard line, but failed on a fake punt.

Three plays later, Burton sprinted around right end and wiggled his way 57 yards down the field for his second touchdown run of the night.

“The blocking from our offensive line was amazing. Those sum-guns were blocking,” Burton said. “I put all the big plays on my offensive line. Blocking like they did, anyone could break big plays.”