Scoring was fast and often for both teams in the early goings of Friday’s match up between the Tallulah Academy Trojans and the visiting Christian Collegiate Academy Bulldogs, but a second-quarter surge would lift the home squad to big, 62-28 win.
The Bulldogs got on the scoreboard first, but a failed conversion attempt left them with only a 6-0 lead over the Trojans, who would tack on six points of its own on the ensuing offensive possession to tie things up. Moments later, TA's defense recovered a CCA fumble at midfield, and Trojans quarterback Dee Morgan capitalized on the opportunity with a long, 25-yeard rushing touchdown. A 2-point conversion through the air gave TA the 14-6 lead, before another Bulldogs touchdown brought CCA within two points of a tie with a 1:25 to play in the first quarter.
But, it would be the second quarter, and a 38-point run that would put the lead far out of CCA’s reach. On top 14-12 early in the second period, Trojans running back Carter Sullivan broke free for a long touchdown run, followed by a 2-point conversion on the ground from Sullivan's brother, Walker, giving TA a 22-12 lead.
The Walker brothers combined for 299 total rushing yards and five touchdowns on the night, with Walker contributing 141 yards and Carter notching 158. Morgan, who found the end zone on the ground in the first quarter, also found Marsh Wood in the end zone twice through the air. Morgan finished the night 5-of-6 passing for 132 yards.
Trojans Head Coach Bart Wood said his team played well in Friday’s win, but added there is always room for improvement.
“I wasn’t happy with the defense,” Wood said. “I feel like they’ve played a lot better. Our pass defense was bad. Our linebackers and linemen weren’t reading the pulls.”
While Wood and company will look to improve in weaker areas during this week’s preparation for Prairie View Academy, he said he is very proud of how well his older players are leading the team. “I think they are coming together for the playoff run,” Wood said. “Our seniors are really, really taking the team over and getting really serious and stepping up, and the other kids are really buying into it. That’s something I was hoping would happen eventually, and it has.”
Wood also said he has been pleased with the offense’s ability to use multiple skill players in its attack, spreading the ball around to running backs and receivers alike.
“What I like about the team is, we’re not focused right on one person,” he said. “We have so many different weapons we can use.”
Wood also pointed out the Trojans’ balanced attack that saw the team eclipse 300 yards rushing, while Morgan threw for over 100 yards and Wood posted a 100-yard receiving game.
With Friday’s win, the Trojans advance to 6-3 on the season and have now secured a spot in the 2020 Mississippi Association of Independent Schools (MAIS) playoffs. The question now, Wood said, is whether or not TA will have home-field advantage in the first round. That answer won’t come until the outcome of the North Sunflower game versus DeSoto is decided this weekend, a contest Wood said Sunflower needs to win in order to help the Trojans’ chances to play at home.
Meanwhile, TA will face Prairie View Academy Friday night at home.
Kickoff for the Trojans’ conference match up with the Spartans (3-5) is scheduled for 7 p.m.