Choctaw Central’s Gerald Isom picks up some yards against Nanih Waiya.
Choctaw Central’s Gerald Isom picks up some yards against Nanih Waiya.
Choctaw Central didn’t seem to be intimidated by defending 1A state champion Nanih Waiya.

In a battle of Warriors, Nanih Waiya returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown and held on to take a hard-fought 27-13 win over Choctaw Central on Friday at the Pearl River Reservation.

Choctaw falls to 1-2 on the year while Nanih Waiya improves to 1-2. Choctaw will be open this week as they prepare to play Lake the following week.

For second-year coach Pepper Posey it was a game of missed opportunities.

“I’m not big on moral victories and am tired of moral victories but I thought we actually played pretty well,” Posey said. “We had our opportunities to win that game. We dropped a touchdown pass and played the second half without our quarterback. You just can’t play a good team and make mistakes and expect to win. I thought we played well in the second half.”

Nanih Waiya got the opening kick and returned it 99 yards for a touchdown to take a 7-0 lead with 11:53 left in the first.

Choctaw Central then took advantage of a Nanih Waiya error when they blocked a punt after a bad snap to get the ball at the NW 19. Gerald Isom then called his own number and scored on a 19-yard keeper with 7:41 left in the first. Graviel Velasco booted the PAT to tie the game at 7-7.

Nanih Waiya responded with a bruising nine-play, 80-yard drive. Donovan Turner scored on a 1-yard quarterback keeper with 2:42 left in the first. The PAT was blocked and Nanih Waiya led 13-7.

Nanih Waiya added one more first-half score as the Warriors went 54 yards in four plays. After a 46-yard run by Shia Moore, the senior running back finished off the drive with a 1-yard run. The try for two failed and Nanih Waiya led 19-7.

“I thought if we could have taken the kickoff away and caught that one pass that would have been a touchdown, it would have been a different game,” Posey said. “We did some good things on offense and ran the ball hard at times. We just have to learn how to be patient and be happy with getting three, four, five yards at a time.”

Choctaw put together a nine-play drive on its second possession of the second half but had a field goal blocked to stall the drive. Nanih Waiya responded with an 11-play, 76-yard drive. Moore scored on a 16-yard run with 11:53 left in the game. Moore ran in the two-point run and Nanih Waiya led 27-7.

After a series of punts, Choctaw got some good field position after recovering a Nanih Waiya punt. Choctaw got in the end zone again as Eli Joe hit Brydon Wesley on a 5-yard touchdown pass late in the fourth. The try for two failed for the final score of 27-13.

Nanih Waiya had 271 yards rushing and 63 passing. Moore rushed for 183 yards on 19 carries. 

The Warriors are open this week. They will visit Lake on Friday, September 20.