MOUNT IDA – The opening round of the 2A state playoffs kicked off with a bang for the Cross County Thunderbirds, but the Mount Ida Lions quickly grounded the visiting foe for a 56-12 victory. The win advances Mount Ida to the second round of the playoffs and a trip to MrCrory Friday night.
Antwine Beale was a one man show for the Thunderbirds in the opening moments of the first quarter. He returned the opening kick off to the Cross County 35 yard line and then took a short pass 65 yards for a touchdown on the second play from scrimmage. The PAT was blocked by Payton Dorrell to hold the Thunderbird lead to six with 21 ticks missing from the clock.
Mount Ida responded quickly with a score of their own. An onside kick attempt rolled short of the 10 yards required for a live ball and the Lions took possession on the Thunderbird 47 yard line. Three plays later Baylor Bates broke loose for a 20 yard touchdown run. Chandler Perkins’ PAT was good and the Lions held a 7-6 lead with 10:47 left in the opening quarter.
Cross County marched the ball 78 yards in eight plays to score on a nine yard run by quarterback John Konnor Wilson. Twenty-five of the 78 yards were the result of Mount Ida penalties. The two point conversion failed and the Thunderbirds held a 12-7 lead with 7:54 left in the first quarter.
Mount Ida seemed to flip a switch after the second Thunderbird touchdown, outscoring Cross County 23-0 in the remainder of the first quarter.
Mount Ida started their second series of the night on their 41 yard line. They marched 59 yards in eight plays, scoring on a one yard run by Bates with 5:01 left in the quarter. Perkins hit the PAT and the Lion lead stood at 14-12.
Quinton Lowry recovered a pooch kick on the ensuing kick off to give the Lions the ball on the Cross County 42 yard line. Four plays later AJ Perez raced 21 yards for a touchdown. Perkins hit the PAT to increase the Lion lead to 21-12 with 3:24 remaining in the opening quarter.
The Mount Ida defense flexed its muscles with the first of five interceptions on the night in the ensuing Thunderbird possession. On the second play of the drive Perkins snatched the ball from the air and made it to the Cross County seven yard line before being tackled.
Mount Ida fumbled the ball away on the first play from scrimmage, but the defense forced a bad snap out of the back of the end zone on a punt to score a safety with 1:04 left in the quarter.
AJ Perez took the ensuing kick to the Cross County 37 yard line. Bates only needed one play, scoring on a 37 yard run for a touchdown. Perkins’ PAT was good and the Lions ended the first quarter with a 30-12 lead.
Cross County turned to the air in an attempt to bridge the growing gap in the score. Mount Ida responded with a Jacob Woodfield interception for a touchdown. Perkins hit the PAT and the Lions held a 37-12 lead with 11:45 left in the second quarter.
The Thunderbirds were able to move the ball to midfield in their next drive, before being forced into a fourth and 13 from their own 47. They went for it, but Blake Collum sacked the quarterback on the Thunderbird 34 yard line to give the Lions a short field with just over 10 minutes left in the half.
Mount Ida needed only three plays with Bates scoring on a 30 yard jaunt into the end zone. Perkins leg grew tired from the PATs and missed one with the Lions lead sitting at 43-12 with 9:02 left in the first half.
Cross County once again took to the air, but a halfback pass was picked off by Woodfield who returned it for another Mount Ida touchdown. Perkins’ PAT missed the mark and the Lions held a 49-12 lead with 6:13 left in the first half.
The final score of the game came at the 4:07 mark of the first half on a 35 yard run by Woodfield. Perkins found his rhythm and connected on the PAT to give the Lions a 56-12 lead.
The second half was a quick one with the clock running according to the sportsmanship rule. Mount Ida turned to their second string as they ran out the clock.
Mount Ida had 36 carries for 313 yards, most of which came in the first half.
Baylor Bates led the team with 12 carries for 154 yards and four touchdowns.
Jacob Woodfield had five carries for 64 yards and a touchdown. He also had two interceptions returned for touchdowns.
AJ Perez had a 25 yard run for a touchdown and a five yard reception.
Dean Johnson had two carries for 31 yards, Gavin Summitt had a 22 yard run, Ben Woodfield had seven carries for 12 yards, Ian McDowell had two carries for eight yards, Connor Sigman had a one yard carry and Gus Gray had a carry for a loss.
Karter Rowton had two carries and was two for two in the air for eight yards. Perez caught a five yard pass and Quinton Lowry had a three yard reception.
Chandler Perkins recorded three interceptions in the game.
Mount Ida’s defense held Cross County to 38 yards rushing on 22 carries. They were 12-27 in the air for 135 yards, one touchdown and five interceptions.
Mount Ida will travel to McCrory Friday, November 19, to face the Jaguars who are the 3-2A Conference Champions. All tickets must be purchased online at gofans.co. Search Mount Ida School for the link. Kick off will be at 7 p.m.
Lions ground Thunderbirds 56-12