Itawamba edges East at the horn
East Mississippi wide receiver Michael Johnnson (2) makes a difficult touchdown catch against Itawamba Community College on Saturday afternoon in Fulton. The Lions fell 18-17. Special to The Star
By Mark Beason/Special to the Star
October 7, 2001
FULTON – Nothing has come easy for the Itawamba Indians this season, including its first win. The Indians had to come from behind to knock off the East Mississippi Lions for an 18-17 victory Saturday.
Itawamba (1-4, 1-2 North Division) plays next Thursday on the road against Coahoma, with East Mississippi (2-3, 1-2) playing Jones at home.
The Lions had a chance to win the game twice in the last 6 seconds. Placekicker and former West Point standout Nick Dimino made a 45-yard field goal, but it was called back after an illegal substitution penalty.
With 3 seconds left, he missed a 50-yard attempt, missing wide right. "It's just been so hard for us every game," ICC coach Jay Miller said. "It was tough from the coin flip to the final kick. Now that we've got that first one, I hope the second one is a whole lot easier."
ICC trailed 17-12 with 7:41 left when backup quarterback John Ross McCartney led the Indians back. With the ball on its own five, McCartney led his team on a 95-yard scoring drive with Deonte Tanniehill making a clutch 15-yard catch for a touchdown.
Tanniehill ended the game with four catches for 106 yards. McCartney replaced Andy Johnson who was knocked out of the game with a minor head injury in the fourth quarter.
ICC led 9-6 at the half, but East Mississippi got a pair of touchdowns from wide receiver Michael Johnson in the second half. He had touchdown catches of 29 and 11 yards.
In the first half, a good punt by Itawamba punter Greg Mooneyham pinned East Mississippi on its own 8-yard line. On the next play, the Indians defense came up with a big play, tackling Lions tailback David Yates in the end zone for safety.
The two teams traded punts before ICC tailback found a hole in the East Mississippi defense. ICC's offensive line opened up a big hole for Young who did the rest, running 41 yards for the score. Rob Miller added the extra point, putting the Indians up 9-0.
East cut the gap late in the fourth with Dimino kicking a 34-yard field goal.