Minden scores four times after halftime
The Minden Crimson Tide seemed to sleepwalk through the first half of their game with Huntington Friday night, and managed only one score to take a 6-0 lead into the halftime break. After the break, a different team showed up.
The Tide scored quickly and scored often in the second half, converting four of six possessions into touchdowns, while the defense held the Raiders to a paltry 163 yards and eight first downs total for the game, leading to the 35-0 whitewashing.
The game started slowly, with both teams taking a ball control approach to the game. Huntington received the ball to start the game and promptly went on a 12 play drive, consuming over five minutes from the clock, and moving the ball to the Tide two yard line. However, they were turned back by a swarming defense and Minden took over on their own seven.
It was then the Tide’s turn to control the tempo. Mixing it up equally with passes and running plays, Minden took over eight minutes to drive to the Raider 20 yard line, but were turned away after giving the ball up on downs.
The teams then traded a couple of shorter possessions, before an Elgin Moore interception gave the Tide the momentum it needed.
After the interception, Minden started at their own 48. A loss of seven yards pushed them back to the 41 before quarterback Turner Francis found Derek Herrington and Javion Johnson for a pair of 14 yard pass completions. Cortavious Rice ran around end for 11 yards on first down to put the Tide on the Raider 18.
One Huntington penalty and another completion to Herrington later, and the Tide was threatening on the one yard line.
Minden’s short yardage specialist, Bryant “the Bull” Stanberry, got the call and barreled over for the score. Huntington denied the point after.
Another interception by Elgin Moore ended any hope the Raiders had of going ahead before halftime.
Immediately following the intermission, the Tide gave their first possession back to the Raiders on a fumble, but Minden got it back on the very next play on a recovery by Stanberry.
And that’s when the Tide started rolling.
Starting at their own 43, Minden once again called on the ground game. Rice busted two beautiful runs, one for 15 yards and one for 36 yards to put the Tide in scoring position. Again, the Bull got the call from the six out of the short yardage set, and he wouldn’t be denied. Ronald Richard added the two point conversion on an end run to establish a 14-0 lead.
Following the kick, Huntington was pushed backwards to their own two yard line, where they elected to punt on third down catching the Tide off guard, but still leaving the visitors in excellent field position at the Raider 46.
Again, Minden went back to the ground game during the drive. Rice had runs of seven, five, and 25 yards during the six play drive, and Francis added a completion to Herrington for 13 yards to put the Tide inside the red zone again. Rice finished off the series with a nine yard touchdown score. Sam Shoemaker added the extra point for a three touchdown lead.
Huntington threatened on their next possession, driving down to the 11, but an interception by Raymond Nevels ended the Raider hopes to close the gap.
The Tide decided to go back to the pass after the interception. The key plays of the drive were a completion from Francis to leading receiver Jared Johnson for 22 yards, and a 44 yard completion to Tray Hawkins for the first passing touchdown of the night.
Minden scored the last touchdown of the evening when quarterback Ronald Richard picked up a bad snap on his own 30 yard line and returned it all the way to paydirt following a masterful, weaving run through the Huntington defense.
Shoemaker again added the point after to give the Tide its final 35-0 margin of victory.
Turner Francis threw for 246 yards and a touchdown, and Cortavious Rice added 160 all-purpose yards and a touchdown to lead the Tide’s offensive explosion of 471 total yards. Francis was 19 for 27 on the evening.
Bryant Stanberry only had seven yards on the ground, but both of his rushes were for touchdowns.
Derek Herrington led the receivers with seven grabs for 84 yards. Javion Johnson had 6 for 55 yards. Rice added two catches, and Jared Johnson also had two receptions. Tray Hawkins had the 44 yard touchdown catch.
Minden is now 5-3 for the year and 3-0 in district 1-4A going into next Friday’s showdown with Benton, most likely for the district championship.