Kemper County's Rondarious Gowdy looks for running room in the season opener.
Kemper County's Rondarious Gowdy looks for running room in the season opener.
By Steve Swogetinsky

Kemper County Messenger

Win or lose, one game does not make a season.
    The Kemper County Wildcats were disappointed Friday as they saw their halftime lead evaporate into a 35-34 season opening loss to the Northeast Lauderdale Trojans.

“Our kids are disappointed,” Coach Joshua Pulphus said. “We had a chance to put a team away and we weren’t able to get it done.

“This is the sign of a young team. Yes, we have more than 20 seniors on the team. But this is the first time they have had to step up and be the guy who wins the game for the team. This was a mistake of a young team.

“This is a new season,” Pulphus said. “I saw improvement from the jamboree game to the Northeast game. And I am looking for us to be better this Friday night.”

The Wildcats will travel to Quitman this week to take on the 0-1 Panthers. Quitman lost its season opener to Southeast Lauderdale, 10-7.

“We are facing another tough team. Quitman is fast and aggressive, and they are bigger than us,” Pulphus said. “They have a young quarterback who is going to be a play-maker. It is going to be a tough matchup.”

Kemper County really showed its potential in the second quarter of the Northeast Lauderdale game. Leading 6-0 after the first quarter, the Wildcats scored four touchdowns and built up a 34-6 halftime lead.

In the first quarter, Trajan Tanksley scored on a 15-yard run to put the Wildcats up 6-0. The extra point failed.

In the second quarter, running back Rondarius Gowdy scored two touchdowns on runs of 18 and 76 yards and the Wildcats led 20-6. The Wildcats converted on one of the two point conversions attempts.

Then quarterback De’Onte Rush completed a 40-yard touchdown pass to Quanderius Bohannon and the Wildcats went up 27-6. Rush found Bohannon again for another touchdown with six seconds left in the first half. Again Kemper County made one of two two-point conversion attempts and the Wildcats carried a 34-6 lead in at the half.

On this night, the Wildcats learned the lesson that football games are made up of four quarters, and not just one big one.

On a warm, humid night, Northeast Lauderdale chipped away at their lead throughout the second half. The Trojans scored two touchdowns in the third quarter and two more in the fourth period. Trailing 34-33 in the final minutes of the game, Northeast Lauderdale went for two and it was the game winner.

Wildcat note: The Kemper County softball team lost its season opener 24-0 to Choctaw Central last week. The two teams are scheduled to play again Thursday in DeKalb.