Rain showers pushed back the start of Thursday night’s Taylorsville-Bay Springs Region 5-2A opener. Thunder and lightning kept the second-half from a promptly start as well. Neither hindered Taylorsville from doing typical Taylorsville things.
The Tartars, who were shutout for the first time since 2004 last week at Jackson Prep, 28-0, dominated the previously unbeaten Bulldogs (6-1, 0-1) on offense, defense, and special teams with 35 first-half points en route to a 42-6 win.
"Last Friday night in the locker room, we talked as a team and flushed that loss then and there," said Taylorsville head football coach Mitch Evans. "Because in all honesty, nobody is going to remember that game three or four weeks from now. We got our butts whipped [last week], but our real season started tonight, and we knew that as a group and knew we had to get ready to play."
Taylorsville scored on the game’s opening drive, taking time to establish its run game. Capped off by a Jeffery Pittman two-yard touchdown run, the Tartars burned through six solid minutes of game clock. Two drives later, and into the second quarter, a one-yard rushing score by Travis Keyes put Taylorsville in front, 13-0.
Establishing the run game was a point of emphasis, said Evans.
"That was another thing coming off of last week," began Evans. "We couldn't run the ball, and that put us to playing one-dimensional. It let Jackson Prep do their thing on the defensive line and secondary. They were able to mix things up because we couldn't establish things upfront.
“But I challenged our offensive line this week to allow us to run the ball, and they answered the bell.”
Special teams played a part as well. Forcing Bay Springs to punt on the following drive, Taylorville’s Cedrick Beavers returned the kick 62 yards for a quick-six.
"We love to score on special teams," said Evans. "We work on that every day. We usually don't have a good chance to return a punt, but tonight we did. Our return team did a good job blocking. I don't know if Beavers was ever touched. We work on special teams a bunch. Sometimes it might not show, but that's a big and important part of our game."
Ty Keyes threw three touchdown passes in the win - all to junior wide receiver Tyrese Keyes. His three-yard strike to Keyes in the corner of the end zone with .8 seconds remaining before halftime completed Taylorsville’s 35 point first-half.
The only touchdown allowed by the defense came early in the final quarter. Bay Springs’ back Lamarcus Stubbs ran the ball in from 27-yards out.
Quote of the Night:
"Bay Springs is a better team than they showed tonight. We watched their film this week, so we know they're better than that. There's a good chance we'll see them again this year in the playoffs, as we did last year. This game, just like last week, we've got to flush it and get ready for Heidelberg." - Taylorsville head coach Mitch Evans.
Taylorsville goes on the road next Friday night to take on Region 5-2A foe, Heidelberg. Bay Springs will host Puckett at home. Kickoffs slated for 7 p.m.