Minden High rolls up 296 total yards against North DeSoto defense
STONEWALL—The Minden Crimson Tide used a balanced scoring attack Friday night to take a hard-fought, 22-15 victory from the North Desoto Griffins.
Cortavious Rice rushed for two touchdowns to lead the Tide's scoring effort, and Jared Johnson added Minden's other score on a pass from quarterback Turner Francis to give the visitors the win.
The night started right for the Tide as they scored on their first series of downs, going 74 yards on five plays. After receiving the opening kickoff, Minden return man Derek Herrington fought hard for a 16 yard return, putting the ball at the Tide 31-yard line.
Sophomore quarterback Turner Francis, getting his first varsity start behind center, completed his first pass of his career to Herrington for the Tide's first first down.
After Rice rushed for no gain, Francis found Javion Johnson open for a quick completion. On third down and long, Johnson and Francis teamed up again for a 26 yard catch and run, giving Minden field position on the Griffin 35. Rice then took control on first down, taking the ball up the middle, then cutting back to outside, beating all the defenders downfield to score the first Tide touchdown of the game and the season.
Sam Shoemaker added the extra point to give Minden a 7-0 lead.
Following the kickoff, North Desoto started in good field position after a great return. However, on the Griffin's second play from scrimmage, Tider JaCourtlan Richardson forced a fumble, which was recovered by Bryant Stanberry, giving Minden great field position. But, the Tide couldn't capitalize on the mistake, giving the ball back to the home team in three plays.
The teams traded possessions for the rest of the half, with the Tide defense holding the North Desoto offense to only 84-yards of offense in the first two quarters, and the Minden lead remained 7-0.
The Griffins tied the game on their second possession of the second half, on a nice run by the North Desoto tailback. However, it didn't take long for the Tide to get those points back.
After the ensuing kickoff, the Tide set up at the North Desoto 31-yard line. On the first play of the drive, Francis threw a strike to Jared Johnson, who then took the ball another 20-yards after the catch. The two teamed up again on the very next play, and this time Johnson would not be denied, rambling through the Griffin secondary for a total of 41 yards and the second Tide touchdown of the evening. Again, Shoemaker added the point after to give Minden a 14-7 lead.
North Desoto added a safety on the next Minden possession, catching Rice in the end zone, to pull within five on the scoreboard.
With the momentum and the ball, the Griffins looked to capitalize and did so on their first drive of the fourth quarter, to give the home team their first lead of the night. But the try for two on the conversion attempt was denied by the Tide defense, leaving the score 15-14.
Again, the Tide offense responded. After a rush for no gain, and an incomplete pass, Minden called time out to regroup. On third down and 10, Francis again found his favored receiver of the night, Jared Johnson, who made the catch and once again made a beautiful run to extend the play for 40 yards.
With the ball on the North Desoto 20, Rice took charge and outran the entire defense to the end zone for the Tide's final score of the game. Francis threw to Ronald Richard to convert the two point attempt to give Minden a seven point lead.
North Desoto threatened in the last two minutes of the game, driving 75-yards in seven plays. The Tide defense stiffened though, and held the Griffins on fourth and eight to preserve the opening game win.
Turner Francis had 16 completions on 31 attempts for a total of 195 yards and one touchdown. He also completed a two point conversion attempt to Ronald Richard. Jared Johnson led the receivers with seven catches for 132 yards and a touchdown. Coltan Haynes (18 yards) and Derek Herrington (14 yards) each had three receptions, and Javion Johnson added two grabs for 27 yards.
Cortavious Rice led the rushing attack for the Tide with 98 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries. He averaged 6.5 yards per carry.
Bryant Stanberry led the defense with 11 tackles and a fumble recovery. Sam Shoemaker added nine tackles. Raymond Nevels added an interception and five tackles.
The Tide will be back in action this Friday night at The Pit, hosting West Ouachita. Game time is 7 p.m.