Rockets battle past Canton for region win

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 The Neshoba Central Rockets picked up another Region 2-5A victory Thursday night as they defeated the Canton High School Tigers 35-12 in prep football action.

Jarquez Hunter scored three touchdowns to lead the Rockets. Last week, Hunter was chosen to play in the Mississippi-Alabama All-star game in Montgomery in December. Neshoba Central, now 6-0, is the No. 4 ranked team in the Scorebook Live Overall Prep standings, and the No. 2 team in the Class 5A poll.

“Overall, we played a good game,” Coach Patrick Schoolar said. “The defense was excellent; the offense was good. We’ll be off next week and that will give us another week to get ready for Ridgeland,”

A bad snap to the punter late in the first quarter gave the Rockets a first down on the Canton nine-yard line. Three plays later, Hunter scored on a one-yard run. Hunter Bavette kicked the extra point and the Rockets led 7-0 going into the second quarter.

Hunter put the Rockets in scoring position in the second quarter on a 53-yard run that moved the Rockets into the red zone. Later, Hunter ran it in from five-yards out for a touchdown. Bavette kicked the extra point and the Rockets led 14-0 with 8:25 left in the half. That’s how it stood at halftime.

Neshoba Central took the second half kickoff and drove deep into the Tigers territory. Then Canton’s Jaheim Lewis intercepted a pass and returned it 98 yards for a touchdown. The try for two failed and the Rockets led 14-6.

The Rockets responded with an eight-play, 80-yard scoring drive. Quarterback Eli Anderson scored on a seven-yard run. The kick was good and the Rockets led 21-6.

In the fourth quarter, Hunter caught a pass and ran 46 yards to put the Rockets on the Canton one-yard line. Anderson carried it in on the next play for a touchdown. Bavetta kicked the extra point and the Rockets led 28-6.

The Tigers took the ensuing kickoff and put together an 11-play, 69-yard scoring drive. Ashton Rose scored on a six-yard run. The try for two failed and the Rockets led 28-12 with 3:27 left to play.

The Rockets took the kickoff. Hunter bolted for 52 yards and gave Neshoba Central a first down inside the Tigers’ 10-yard line. Three plays later, Hunter scored on an 11-yard run. The kick was good and the Rockets went on to win 35-12.

Hunter finished the night with 184 rushing yards on 22 carries. He caught four passes for 69 yards, giving him 253 total yards. Anderson rushed for 69 yards on nine carries. He completed 6-of-11 passes for 128 yards, giving him 196 total yards.

On the defensive side, Jaharon Griffin had 13 tackles with four assists, three sacks and three hurries. Kelbee Holmes had 12 tackles and three assists while Elijah Ruffin had five tackles, four assists and one interception. Landon Case had three solos and two tackles and Jashawn Mathis had five solos.

 The Rockets will be off next week, their game at South Panola was canceled due to health concerns. Neshoba Central hosts Ridgeland the following Friday. Canton, now 1-4, is slated to play at Vicksburg October 23.


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