Philly uses momentum to push victory
By By Marty Stamper/EMG sports assistant
August 30, 2003
CHOCTAW The Philadelphia Tornadoes took advantage of a pair of big breaks to defeat Choctaw Central 21-15 in the season opener for both teams Friday night at Warrior Stadium.
Choctaw Central jumped out to a 12-0 lead in the first 13 minutes and finished the county rivalry with 332 total yards to 178 for the Tornadoes.
Philadelphia used a key fumble recovery and a big punt return to make up for those shortcomings.
"We said before the ballgame that we're young and we tend to make some mistakes, but we know we have to be good on special teams and we had to take advantage of any opportunities that came our way until we get some experience," said Philadelphia's Mike Brown following his first career win as a head coach. "We started a lot of guys in skill positions tonight for the first time. Porter (Jordan) did a great job running our offense. He hustled and hung in there and took some licks. He showed a lot of toughness. That's going to help us down the road. Desmond Murray played hard as always.
"We made the most of our opportunities when we got them and we won the football game," Brown added. "My hat's off to Choctaw Central. We knew they were pretty good. We didn't know that they were going to be that physical. You know they're going to get better and better. They're going to make some noise in that division."
The Warriors were hurt by at least five bobbled exchanges between center and quarterback during the night, but Choctaw Central threatening at the Philadelphia nine-yard line, as time ran out.
"Our kids fought hard, we've just got to learn how to win," said Choctaw Central veteran head coach Willie Coats. "You can't win making the mistakes that we made. We've got a pretty good team, but we've got to learn how to win. We don't know how to win. We're going to get there though."
The Warriors took an early 6-0 lead after Bracey Billie returned the opening kickoff 58 yards to the Tornado 35. After a 34-yard run by Geno Mack, Shaun Jimmie scored on a one-yard sneak, with just 59 seconds elapsed. The extra point failed.
The Warriors moved 68 yards as they doubled their lead on the second play of the second quarter. Jimmie rolled right, tucked the ball down and ran 20 yards to the end zone. He was stopped short on a two-point attempt. The big play on the drive was a 31-yard run by Jimmie to begin the march.
Murray got the Tornadoes on the scoreboard when he took a pitchout 59 yards around left end. Jordan's PAT made it 12-7, with 9:57 left in the first half.
A fumble recovery by Jeremy Holmes put the Tornadoes back in business at the Choctaw 13. Five plays later, Jordan hit Eric Lyons on a 6-yard scoring toss. Jordan's PAT gave the Tornadoes a 14-12 lead going into halftime.
A 30-yard punt return to the Warriors' 16-yard line set the Tornadoes up late in the third quarter. Six plays later, Jordan and Lyons combined on a 21-yard scoring play. Jordan's kick was good.
The Warriors put together a 10-play drive that reached the Philadelphia nine-yard line before stalling. Michael Morris' 26-yard line drive field goal cleared the crossbar as the Warriors closed to within 21-15, with 7:20 remaining.
Choctaw Central had one final shot at glory as the Warriors started from their 18 and moved to the Tornados' nine-yard line before time ran out. A 40-yard pass from Jimmie to Mitch Shoemake put the Warriors in business inside the 10 with 17.6 seconds showing, but Jimmie threw an incompletion and was tackled inbounds on the next play as time expired.
Jimmie had 17 carries for 77 yards and completed 7-of-17 passes for 105 yards, with one interception. Mack had 13 carries for 62 yards. Rodgrick Anderson caught six passes for 65 yards.
Murray had 98 yards on 14 carries to lead the Tornadoes. Jordan completed 4-of-10 passes for 48 yards.
The win extends Philadelphia's lead in the series to 11-3.