Bay Springs defeats Clarkdale
HOLDING ON – Clarkdale's Justin Culpepper (16) makes a pass before he is knocked down by Bay Springs' Ryan Jones (60). PHOTO BY CARISA MCCAIN / THE MERIDIAN STAR
By Jeff Byrd/staff writer
November 9, 2002
Two big pass plays were enough to send Bay Springs into the second round of the 2A playoffs. Quarterback Lesteven McCullum threw a 47-yard touchdown and then used a 29-yard gain on the same play to set up a clinching score in Bay Springs' 17-7 win over Clarkdale.
The loss spoiled the playoff debut for Clarkdale who was making its first appearance ever in the playoffs. The loss, does little to take away a landmark season for Coach Bubba Hathorn's team.
Clarkdale enjoyed its first winning season in 20 years. The Bulldogs end at 7-4 which also includes the team's first-ever Region/Division championship in football.
Bay Springs, also now 7-4, advances on to host Enterprise next week in the second round. Enterprise beat Newton 34-18.
Hathorn said his team missed some chances in the first half and got caught in some blitzes that set up Bay Springs' two touchdowns.
Neither team scored in the first half. Clarkdale had two golden opportunities to get on the board including one on an 8-minute opening drive of the game, but two field goals by David Prewitt of 39 and 37 yards slipped wide.
The game stayed scoreless until the 4:10 mark when McCollum faked a throw to a three-receiver side and then saw a wide open Josh Crosby at the 20. The pass was on the mark and it was an easy jaunt to the endzone for a 47-yard TD pass.
Bay Springs head coach Cecil Hicks said his team was able to set up the play with the run and took advantage of Clarkdale's aggressiveness.
Bobby Gammage booted through the kick for a 7-0 lead with 4:10 left in the third quarter.
Clarkdale reached midfield as the quarter ended. Om third-and-12, Justin Culpepper was intercepted by McCullom who returned it 28 yards to the Clarkdale 27.
A 21-yard run by Phillip Sims gave Bay Springs a first down at the 7/ Three plays gained nothing and Bay Springs settled for a 24-yard field goal by Gammage. The kick made it 10-0 with 9:24 to play.
Clarkdale fans finally got something to cheer about when Quinn Moffitte took the ensuing kickoff back 95 yards for a touchdown. Moffitte broke through a crowd around the 30, found daylight, and then outran the pursuit for the six.
Prewitt added the PAT kick cutting the Bay Springs lead to 10-7 with 9:08 to play.
Bay Springs, though, had an answer. They picked up two first downs on the ground before facing a 3rd-and-9 at the Clarkdale 33. Hicks went with the same play that went for the score. This time, Crosby had a safety near him, but he still made the catch for a 29-yard gain to the Clarkdale four.
Two plays later, Crosby dove in from the three for the score. Gammage's kick made it 17-7 with 4:04 left.
Clarkdale reached the Bay Springs 21 with the clock winding down. But two sacks forced Culpepper into a 4th-and-27. He could gain just five yards on a scramble which effectively end the game.
Clarkdale opened the game with a 14-play drive that picked up five first downs to the Bay Springs 14. But a dropped option and a 7-yard sack put Clarkdale back to the 21. Prewitt's 39-yard field goal went wide left.
A short punt had Clarkdale back in business at the Bay 42. A 15-yard scramble by Culpepper got the team to the 25. But Bay again stiffened forcing a 37-yard kick. The ball just missed wide left.
Clarkdale was held to just 35 yards rushing in the second half after gaining 106 in the first half. Culpepper was 3-of-12 for 31 yards to give the team 172 yards in offense.
McCullum was 5-of-9 for 124 yards. Crosby caught three passes for 71 yards and rushed for 15 on 13 carries. Clarkdale held Bay to just 81 yards rushing.