The Panthers of Yazoo County kept the Y-Trophy for another year after trouncing rival Indians of Yazoo City 48-0 in an odd, shortened game
The 2016 version of the Battle of Yazoo had everything from a helmet flying across the field to electrical delays to big plays.
Yazoo County head football coach Robert Dobbs, who won his first Battle of Yazoo as the head man on Thursday night.
“Going into it, I was pretty nervous,” Dobbs said. “It was my first game as a head coach, and it was a pretty important game. All of my nerves settled after the first snap of the game. It got smoother and smoother after that.”
The game started out difficult for the Indians with two offsides penalties on the opening kickoff, a sign of things to come.
Things got worse for Yazoo City on their first defensive play when they lost Sam Barton for an undetermined amount of time due to an apparent leg injury.
Without Barton bolstering the Indians’ defense, the Panthers began to gash them for chunks of yards, ending with 27-yard TD pass from Kenneth Gainwell to Terrance Milsap, giving them a 7-0 lead.
Things went from bad to worse on the ensuing kickoff, where the Panthers forced a fumble that Keilos Swinney returned 20 yards for a score, giving them a 14-0 lead.
On the following kickoff, Yazoo City’s return man was met by a huge hit, and that’s when the aforementioned helmet went flying.
Dobbs believed his team came out fiery and emotional.
“Our guys came out focused and ready to play,” Dobbs said. “He played with high emotion. I was very pleased with the effort throughout the game.”
Yazoo County’s Cherokee Edwards quickly took over the game and scored touchdowns from 12 yards out and seven yards out, giving the Panthers an early lead of 27-0.
With 9:46 remaining in the second quarter, the booming voice of a referee called for the lights to be killed, bring darkness to half of the field.
Electrical issues had a number of lights out, and the officials felt it was unsafe to continue the game with the current conditions.
Since the lights would not come back on in a reasonable amount of time, the two teams had a decision to make.
They decided to forgo the rest of the first half and move right into halftime to ensure that the game would end in a timely fashion.
“Both coaching staffs were given a number of options on how we would move forward,” Dobbs said. “We decided to make it halftime. That’s something we both agreed to do. Lightning was moving in on us, and we didn’t want a weather delay also.”
A stroke of good luck helped the game continue somewhat as planned.
“We were having some electrical difficulties during the game due to some faulty wiring, I believe,” Dobbs said. “We had to cut the lights off and get an electrician. One just happened to be watching the game, so we had a little good luck.”
Things picked back up in the second half roughly where they were left.
Edwards quickly scored again from 20 yards out to extend the Panthers’ lead to 34-0.
A few minutes later, Devarrio Sanders got his chance to put on a show and scored a TD to push the Panthers’ lead to 41-0.
The final touchdown of the game came in the fourth quarter when Edwards put up his fourth score of the game on an eight yard run, making the final score 48-0 game.
The Panthers held Yazoo City High to -14 yards in the contest.
Edwards was a monster in the win for Yazoo County. He rushed for four touchdowns and 110 yards on 11 carries (10 yards per carry).
Kenny Gainwell was efficient in the win, going 5-for-7 through the air for 89 yards and a TD.
Sanders rushed for 72 yards and a touchdown on seven carries.
Swinney had four tackles and a fumble recovery for a score.
Curtis Bullock had six tackles, one of which was for loss, one sack and a quarterback hurry.
Jay Thomas had five tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, a sack and three quarterback hurries.
Jamie Ortiz went 6-for-7 on PATs and had one punt for 43 yards, pinning the Indians inside the 10-yard line on his only attempt.
Javarious Grady and Jordan Cole led the Indians with eight tackles each.
Yazoo County will have a step up in competition on Friday night when they travel to face 5A Germantown.
“Germantown should be stiffer competition for us,” Dobbs said. “They’re coached up well. They’re offensively and defensively sound. They’re very fundamentally sound. They do what they do, and they do it well.”
Yazoo County and Germantown kick off at 7 p.m.
On the other side of the spectrum, Yazoo City head football coach Lynn Lang is ready to turn the page on the Battle of Yazoo.
“I don’t really have much to say about it,” Lang said. We’ll bounce back. I’m disgusted right now, but we’ll get back to the drawing board. We’re going to bounce back.”
The Indians will try to bounce back on Friday night when they host Humphreys County.
Kickoff for the contest is set for 7 p.m.