By Ruthie Robison The Winston County Journal
The Nanih Waiya Warriors completed their 2012 football season last Friday night at Stringer in the first round of the Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 1A playoffs.
Although their season was cut earlier than they would have liked after taking a 54-7 loss from the Stringer Red Devils, Nanih Waiya finished the year with a 6-6 overall record, 5-3 Class 1A, Region 3, District 4 record and was ranked No. 3 in their region.
Stringer put up a pair of touchdowns scoring first early in the Friday night playoff showdown. After an unproductive Warrior possession in the first quarter, Stringer had the ball again. But not for long. Senior wide receiver and defensive back Hunter Luke made a huge play for the Warriors on the defensive side of the ball. Luke intercepted a Stringer pass from junior quarterback Tevin Moore giving Nanih Waiya a chance to score. The fired up Warrior offense capitalized a few plays later after senior quarterback Luke Rosamond took a keeper to the end zone. Senior Ty Higginbotham added the extra point.
Nanih Waiya had cut the Red Devil lead in half, 14-7.
But Stringer answered back quickly in the first quarter with another touchdown.
The Red Devils scored 20 points in the second quarter and 14 more points in the third quarter to cap their 54-7 win over the Warriors.
Offensively, freshman Ken McQueen led with 10 carries for 72 yards.
Luke Rosamond was 4-9 through the air for 20 yards and had one rushing touchdown.
On the defensive side of the ball, sophomore Aaron Ellinburg had 12 stops with one for a loss of yards and one fumble recovery. Ty Higginbotham had eight stops with one for a loss of yards while Sophomore Colby Higginbotham had six stops while Luke had one interception.
The Warriors entered the season with just three returning starters on offense and two on defense. After a rough start to the year, Nanih Waiya hit a six game winning streak putting them in the top of their district.
“I’m very proud of the season we had,” said head coach Tate Hanna. “We didn’t expect this kind of season so we are very proud of the kids.”
Along with the nine Nanih Waiya seniors, several underclassmen stepped into big roles for the Warriors this season.
On the offensive side of the ball this season, sophomore running back Jamarlo Smith led with 194 carries for 1,517 yards with 18 touchdowns averaging 7.6 yards per carry and 131 yards a game. Smith scored a pair of two point conversions and returned two kickoffs for a touchdown.
Rosamond had 52 completed passes this season for 735 yards with nine passing touchdowns. Rosamond completed a pair of two point conversion passes this season and had six rushing touchdowns.
Junior Stewart Ball had 13 receptions for 189 yards with two touchdowns receiving an average of 16.6 yards per catch.
Freshman Isaiah Eiland had 12 receptions for 218 yards with two touchdowns receiving an average of 22 yards per catch. Eiland returned on kickoff for a touchdown this season.
On the defensive side of the ball, Ty Higginbotham had 91 stops with eight for a loss of yards and four sacks. Ellinburg had 86 stops with eight for a loss of yards and three fumble recoveries. Sophomore Marcellous Grady had 79 stops with five for a loss of yards and two fumble recoveries. Smith had nine stops while Luke had six interceptions.