Another tough loss for Mary Persons in Corky Kell Classic
Brian Nelson’s Mary Persons team lost a tough game to Houston County in the 2016 Corky Kell Classic.
The Bulldogs suffered another difficult loss Thursday in the second year of the Corky Kell Classic at Mercer’s Five Star Stadium, and Nelson said this one was a little more disappointing. The Bulldogs led by three points entering the fourth quarter but dropped a 21-17 defeat to Lee County.
Lee County controlled the action through the first two quarters, but the game was still tied at 14 at the half as Mary Persons took advantage of two big Lee County mistakes.
The Bulldogs blocked a short field goal attempt, and Bralen Harvey scooped up the ball and returned it 78 yards for the opening score in the second quarter. After Lee County scored 14 straight points, the Bulldogs picked up a fumble on a punt and made that count when Deadrek Alford hauled in a 30-yard touchdown pass from JT Hartage. Alford tipped the ball to himself over the Lee County defender and took it into the end zone for the score.
Mary Persons retook the lead on an Alexander Rivera 34-yard field goal in the third quarter, but Lee County got the go-ahead touchdown early in the fourth quarter on a 1-yard run by Nikko Cruz.
Five who mattered
Hartage: The junior quarterback completed 9-of-15 passes for 84 and rushed for 18 yards.
Quen Wilson: The junior led the Mary Persons rushing attack with 37 yards on five carries.
Derrick Goodson: The junior had 6.5 tackles, including one for loss.
Tre Slaton/Jatorian Hansford: Both seniors finished with six tackles.
Mary Persons had a chance to add to its three-point lead early in the fourth quarter, but the Bulldogs were stopped on fourth down deep in Lee County territory. The Trojans’ ensuing drive covered 92 yards in eight plays and culminated in Cruz’s short score.
Offensive dominance: Lee County ran 64 plays for 448 yards, while Mary Persons had just 139 yards on 48 plays.
Third-quarter response: Lee County dominated the first half statistically, outgaining Mary Persons 297 yards to just 73 while running 40 offensive plays to just 22 for the Bulldogs. But Mary Persons ran 20 plays in the third quarter for 66 yards, while the Trojans had just three plays for 8 yards.
Missing chances: The Bulldogs were just 1-of-3 in red-zone scoring chances, while the Trojans were just 2-of-4.
They said it
Nelson on the loss: “This one may be a little more disappointing than last year, just because we were a little more in this early and the whole way through. All that being sad, really proud of our guys. We’re real young and inexperienced. We’ll get better, and there’s a bunch of things we can do to get better.”
Nelson on the strong third quarter: “I think we held it for maybe the first seven minutes and got points out of it. That was big. Our defense was getting tired, but at the end of the day, we didn’t score enough points, and we let them score too many. So we’ll get better; we’ll get better.”
Lee County head coach Dean Fabrizio on the win: “Mary Persons came out and really outplayed us. We made way too many mistakes out there. We had several, several big mistakes on special teams that kept giving them back momentum. But good teams win when they don’t play well, and our kids, I’m proud of them that they were able, even though we didn’t play well, we were able to focus enough at the end and pull out the victory.”
Mary Persons hosts Jackson on Aug. 25.