Southeast advances to second round for first time since ’06
November 8, 2010Southeast Lauderdale High School
By Daniel Rigdon / Sports Writer The Meridian Star The Meridian Star Sat Nov 06, 2010,
MERIDIAN - Southeast Lauderdale coach Boo Smith has been preaching validation to his team over the past week and that is just what his team gave him Friday night in Vimville. The Tigers pulled away in the second half to down Velma Jackson 36-26 in the first round of the MHSAA Class 3A playoffs and become only the second SEL team to win a playoff game in school history.
"This win is huge in validating our season," said Southeast coach Boo Smith. "It means a lot to us to know we belong in the playoffs."
After entering the locker room with a one point lead at 7-6, Southeast (9-3) made a couple of adjustments and came out to play arguably its best half of the season.
After a big defensive stand deep in their own territory the Tigers capitalized quickly as running back Ladarious Clark gashed the Falcons' defensive line play-after-play before capping the drive with a 13-yard trip to the end zone. SEL faked the extra-point attempt and Shelby Moseley hit DeMarcus Pringle for the two-point conversion to put the score at 15-6.
However, Velma Jackson responded as running back Michael Gordon broke a tackle and sprinted 69 yards to the house on the ensuing possesion to cut the lead to one.
Unfortunately for the Falcons, Pringle had an answer as he took the kick off 85 yards untouched to pay dirt for a little Southeast breathing room to make the score 22-14.
Velma again was not deterred as Gordon put his team on his shoulders and ran for his third score of the night. Gordon had touchdown runs of 5, 66, 69 and 52 yards.
"He had well over 300 yards on the ground against us," added Smith. "He put that team on his back and almost beat us by himself. We weren't prepared for that caliber of athlete."
SEL again turned to Clark and he answered the call delivering fierce stiff arms and one nifty cut for a 29-yard touchdown run to put the Tigers out in front for good.
Moseley would find Pringle for a 45-yard touchdown strike late in the fourth quarter.
A key turning point in the second half was when the Tigers recovered back-to-back onside kicks.
"Really those onside kicks weren't designed to be a gamble," said Smith. "We got tired of them running the kickoff back into our territory. I decided that by God we were gonna stop that.
"We've got a foreign exchange student (Pedro Coelho) who joined our team two weeks into the season and he knows how to kick that ball. He's like a magician and he kicked two perfect kicks that we recovered."
Pringle ended the night with a team-leading three touchdowns and a two-point conversion, while Clark had two rushing touchdowns. Moseley efficiently managed his team the entire night and added the touchdown pass to Pringle.
"Shelby had the best game of his life and Clark and Pringle played outstanding," Smith said. "We won this game with offense which gives us a good outlook going forward. We were winning them all with the defense, but the past few games we have put up over 30 points."
Southeast, whose nine wins is a school record, will now travel to take on defending 3A state champion Tylertown, who defeated St. Patrick 63-0 in the first round.