With only two teams left Region 3-3A, it was a winner-take-all contest between Winona and Humphreys County on Friday night.
The Tigers broke open a tied game at the half as they scored 26 unanswered points to take a 34-8 win over Humphreys County and claim the Region 3-3A championship.
The Tigers are now 5-1 on the season and will be off this week. The Tigers will finish off the regular season as they travel to Pisgah on Friday, Oct. 30.
“We came back and played well in the second half and played well enough to win,” Winona coach Joey Tompkins said. “We have to be happy with a win and winning the division championship and all of that. We are playing a ninth grade quarterback, and there will be growing pains with that.”
The Tigers got on the board first with their freshman quarterback leading the way. The Tigers scored on a 40-yard run while Deriuan Townsend scored the two-point conversion to give Winona an early 8-0 lead.
But Humphreys answered right back as they scored on a 42-yard run and converted the two-point conversion to make the score 8-8, a score that would last until halftime.
“My hat’s off to those guys,” Tompkins said of Humphreys. “They did a good job. We had a lot of self-inflicted stuff that could have been prevented. We didn’t play well in the first half and that’s a credit to them. They controlled the ball in the first half, and we had three turnovers and gave them an onside kick. It kind of snowballed on us. We started slow, and I can’t really figure out why. We just can’t seem to pull it all together. One side will play well and the other side won’t.”
But the Tigers put the game away in the second half behind the strong running of Townsend. The Tigers scored three third-quarter touchdowns as Townsend scored on runs of 15, 9 and 9 yards. Noah Durham made one PAT as the Tigers led 27-8 at the end of the third.
“We only gave up eight points, but the defense still isn’t taking over games like we need to,” Tompkins said. “Honestly, the first half was one of the worst halves of football that we have played since I have been here. We played really bad in the first half against a team that we should have beat handily.”
The Tigers added a fourth-quarter score as Robert McMath scored on a five-yard run. Durham booted the PAT for the final of 34-8.
The Tigers had 381 yards of total offense with 329 yards rushing and 52 passing.
Townsend had 211 yards rushing on 21 carries, giving him 962 yards on the season. Richardson had 93 yards rushing on seven carries and was 5-of-10 passing for 52 yards. Robert Cross had two catches for 15 yards while Townsend had one catch for 30 yards.
On defense, Marionzo Small had a huge night with eight tackles, 11 assists and two sacks. Tim Goss had two tackles and eight assists while Fred Clark had three solo tackles and six assists. Toi Allen also had three tackles and five assists.
The Tigers are off this week after Ruleville Central opted out of the season. Tompkins said that isn’t a bad thing at this point.
“We are off this week, and we are not looking for a game this week,” Tompkins said. “We have a lot of injuries and have a team that is really banged up. We have a chance to get those kids back and work on some fundamental stuff and get back to basics this week. We need to get better at those fundamental things.”
Winona will finish out the regular season next week as they travel to Pisgah to take on the Class 2A Dragons.