First, it was Bay Springs on Thursday night. Friday night, it was Mize.
Previously unbeaten Mize fell to Puckett 21-14 in “the town of 300 friendly folks and a few ole soreheads,” as the sign reads coming into the town of Puckett. Like with Bay Springs on Thursday night at Taylorsville, the Mize Bulldogs suffered its first loss of the season in their Region 5-2A opener Friday night.
Five turnovers - four in the second half - did Mize in, killing all hopes of a comeback.
"I didn't think we played well tonight," said Mize head football coach Chuck Lee. "Those five turnovers killed us. Puckett came ready and played well. They shut down our run game early and made us try throwing the ball, which we don't like to do. We like to be balanced on offense, not forced into in like we were tonight. Puckett played well. Hats off to them."
Of the four turnovers in the second half, three came by way of interceptions on three consecutive drives. Lee said the three picks came as the Bulldogs sought out quick plays to get into the end zone and turn momentum in its favor.
"We thought we could find a few quick scores to get things going in our direction," Lee said. "But Puckett picked off [those deep passes], and we could never get momentum till the end."
Down 21-6 midway through the final quarter, Mize caught fire offensively. After several first-down runs, senior quarterback Avery Rice scored on a 10-yard designed run-play with 5:15 left. A successful two-point conversion pulled the Bulldogs within a single score, 21-14.
Two minutes later, after forcing a Puckett punt, Mize marched nearly 70 yards downfield to Puckett's one-yard line. Then came Mize's fifth turnover of the night. On a quarterback sneak attempt, junior Tyrese Ducksworth fumbled the snap, and Puckett recovered.
From there, Puckett wasted away the clock to pull off the upset.
"I told our guys to have to bounce back," said Lee, "we have four district games left. We have to come back focused and play hard. It's going to be tough. We're in a tough district."
Quote of the Night:
"It was a combination of both," said Chuck Lee when asked if it was Puckett's defense or a lack of execution by his team's offense. "We didn't block well like we're capable of. But Puckett had a good game plan for us, and they played it well."
Mize (6-1) will face unbeaten Enterprise next Friday night at home in Region 5-2A action. Puckett (5-2) travels to Bay Springs. Kickoffs are slated for 7 p.m.