The Toppers came so close to putting a mark in their win column Sept. 20 but a fourth quarter rally by the Choctaw County Chargers sent them home with a loss.
The Houston team broke on the scoreboard in the second quarter with a touchdown run by Damien Fields, who also ran in the conversion, and led 8-0 through the third quarter.
But the Chargers came charging back in the fourth with TDs by J. Bradley and Tay Edwards to take, and hold, a 12-0 lead for the win.
Coach William Cook sees improvement every week in the young team, but knows what they need before moving into division play in October.
“We played well in the first half,” Cook said. “Defense played extremely well the entire game. Offense has to stop turning the ball over and score when it gets to the goal line.”
The offense recorded 112 total yards, enough for a score and three-quarter lead and the defense held the Chargers down just as long. Nate Smith led the team in total tackles with 19, followed closely by Avery Seals with 12 and Fields with 10. Seals and Grady Nabors each had a sack and J.J. Brownlee had two while Denver McQuary snagged a pick and Fields recovered a fumble.
But the offense couldn’t sustain the momentum the defense provided.
“(Our) defense put us in great shape and the offense could not capitalize on it,” Cook said. “You can’t win when you turn the ball over as much as we have.”
One more and then it counts
The Toppers have one more non-division game Friday against Eupora before breaking into division play in October. Their scheduled bouts with Caledonia, Kosciusko, Leake Central, West Lauderdale and Noxubee County will determine playoff potential.
“We have to keep working and improving,” Cook said. “This is the last game before division play and the games count for playoffs. We are getting better, but still have to finish a game.”
Kickoff with Eupora is set for 7 p.m. with Homecoming taking place during halftime.