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Tallulah Academy tops MSD in Saturday football matinee

Tallulah Academy waited an extra day to play this week, but had no trouble snapping out of its recent slide.

Walker Sullivan returned a fumble for a touchdown on the game’s opening drive to set the pace, and the Trojans scored three more times in the first quarter on their way to a 48-20 victory over the Mississippi School for the Deaf Saturday in Jackson.

Dee Morgan threw two touchdown passes for the Trojans. Hayes Hopkins was 4-of-6 passing for 73 yards and one touchdown, and also caught a TD pass. In addition to his fumble return TD, Sullivan scored on a 22-yard run.

Tallulah (4-2) snapped a two-game losing streak with the non-district win. It jumped out to a 32-8 lead at the end of the first half, and head coach Bart Wood used the opportunity to play mostly backups and younger players the rest of the way.

“It’s good to get them out there because then you see the things they can and can’t do, and where they can help us. You can’t see that until you see it in game action,” Wood said of the extended playing time for his junior varsity players.

The Mississippi School for the Deaf is a member of the Mississippi High School Activities Association, but plays eight-man football — normally against other deaf schools from around the country. It won back-to-back national championships among the country’s deaf schools in 2017 and 2018.

The COVID-19 pandemic has sapped MSD’s roster and schedule, however. Saturday’s game was its first this season. It has two other games scheduled later this month against members of the Mid-South Association of Independent Schools.

“They only have three games this year and they had to cancel the whole season. And then they didn’t have a lot of players. I did not want to run the score up on them,” Wood said. “It was a fun game.”

Tallulah will return to MAIS competition next week when it takes on Riverdale Academy Friday at 7 p.m. It will be Tallulah’s homecoming game.