Nanih Waiya had its best offensive night of the season on Friday night against French Camp.
But it wasn’t quite enough as French Camp scored twice at home in the last six minutes of the game to take a 28-20 win over the Warriors.
Nanih Waiya falls to 0-4 on the season and will travel to Bruce this week.
Nanih Waiya coach James Courtney said his team played better and had its best offensive night of the season but still has to be able to finish off opponents.
“I thought we played better overall; we just couldn’t finish,” Courtney said. “I thought we played better offensively, but we just couldn’t find a way to stop them when it mattered. The kids are playing hard and getting better at what we do. That’s the hardest we have played this year. It was a gut-wrenching loss. Both teams were dying to get a win. You hate for either team to lose, but that’s the way it goes. We can’t let it end our season. We are just getting started. We just need to find a way to win.”
The Warriors got the ball to open the game and put together a 13-play drive that ended with a 41-yard field goal by Jake Vick with 5:03 left in the quarter for an early 3-0 lead.
The Panthers responded with a five-play, 61-yard drive. After Ethan Wright hit Avery Summers on a 44-yard gain, Silas Hodge completed the drive with a 13-yard run with 3:13 left in the first quarter. Reese Churchill hit the PAT, and the Panthers led 7-3.
The Warriors fumbled on their next drive while the Panthers drove down to the Nanih Waiya 25 before turning the ball over on downs.
The Warriors then put together a seven-play, 75-yard drive as Mason Jones scored on a 3-yard run to finish off the drive. The PAT failed, and the Warriors led 9-7.
The Warriors then recovered the ensuing kick and went back to work on offense. This time they went 44 yards in three plays as Jones scored on a 13-yard run with 4:34 left in the first half. Eli Stanton scored the two-point conversion, and Nanih Waiya led 17-7.
French Camp put together a nine-play drive and got inside the Nanih Waiya 10 but fumbled as the Warriors held the 17-7 lead at the half.
“I thought we blocked better and finished some drives,” Courtney said. “We kicked two field goals and went for it on fourth down and didn’t make it. We have to be able to finish those drives and get the ball in the end zone. If we finish those drives, we probably win the game.”
French Camp got the ball to start the game and kept the ball for more than eight minutes as they went 81 yards in 15 plays. Hodge finished off the drive with a 5-yard run with 3:56 left in the third. The PAT was blocked, and Nanih Waiya led 17-13.
The Warriors responded with a long drive of their own, going 13 plays before settling for a 36-yard field goal to take a 20-13 lead.
French Camp answered again with a five-play, 53-yard drive as Ethan Wright scored on a 7-yard run with 5:43 left in the game. Wright ran in the two-point conversion, and the Panthers took a 21-20 lead.
The Warriors then drove down to the French Camp 13 before turning the ball over on downs with 3:11 left in the game.
French Camp then added some insurance points when Wright scored on a 30-yard run to cap off a seven-play, 87-yard drive with 34.4 seconds left to play. Churchill hit the PAT, and French Camp led 28-20.
The Warriors had their best offensive night of the season with 241 yards rushing and 78 passing for 319 yards of total offense.
Jones had 113 yards on 17 carries while Eli Stanton had 103 yards on 16 carries. Stanton also had five catches for 65 yards as well.
This week’s game:
The Warriors will travel to Bruce this week in a non-division contest.
The Trojans are 1-3 on the season and have lost three straight. They opened the season with a 26-0 win over Coffeeville and then lost 42-14 to Vardaman, 39-6 to Water Valley, and 42-6 to South Pontotoc.
“Their record indicates they are struggling, but they have some big, long and fast kids,” Courtney said. “We have to be able to tackle if we have a chance to win. They like to spread it out. They spread it out to run but have some athletes that can run. I think we will be able to block them, we just have to find a way to finish them.”
Last year, Nanih Waiya beat Bruce 36-13.