The Hornets overcame a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter to defeat the West Tallahatchie Choctaws 26-22 in football action. The win evened JFK’s record at 1-1, while West Talley fell to 1-2.
Ricky Fleming showed some big-time playmaking ability late in the game. Trailing 22-12, Ladaris Johnson connected with Fleming on 68-yard touchdown pass. With 3:46 left in the game, Fleming came up big again as he intercepted a pass and returned it 28 yards for a touchdown. The 2-point conversion attempt was good, and JFK led 26-22, which ended up being the final score.
“The team came out rather flat, but showed a lot of character,” John F. Kennedy head football coach Sheldon Hodge said. “With a little over five minutes to go in the game, we found ourselves down by ten. The kids fought back and believed in themselves.”
In the first quarter trailing 6-0, Octavius Taylor recovered a fumble and ran it back 35 yards for a touchdown to tie the game up at 6-6. The Hornets were able to take the lead going into halftime as Johnson connected with Carnez Gant on a pass that resulted in a 30-yard touchdown at the end of the second quarter to make the score 12-6. The Choctaws were able to score 16 points in the second half to give the Hornets a challenge.
“The way West Tally played and looked against Charleston gave us a false picture of the caliber of ball club that they had,” Hodge said. “The guys found out West Tally was far better than what they showed against Charleston.”
Johnson had a solid night throwing the football as he completed 5-of-10 passes for 152 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions. Johnson’s performance was especially key considering the fact that JFK was held to just 33 rushing yards on 27 carries.
“He was very clutch when we needed him,” Hodge said. “West Tally stacked the line and was intent on stopping the run. Many times, they were in man-to-man defense and we were able to get our receivers behind him. Ladaris did a good job of giving our kids an opportunity to catch the ball.”
Along with his fumble recover for a touchdown, Taylor also caught a pass for 34 yards.
On defense for JFK, Gant, Kordell Moore and David Huffman made some key plays to help stop the Choctaws.
JFK is set to return to the gridiron on Friday when the team will travel to Leland.