By Rocky

Higginbotham

Kemper County Messenger



Nanih Waiya football coach Ryan Keeton knows there are big obstacles and “trap” games waiting throughout his team’s 2017 schedule. But so far, the Warriors have simply run right through everyone.

Nanih Waiya rolled up another easy win last Friday night in its 2017 Region 3-1A opener, bolting to a six-touchdown lead in the first half and coasting to a 53-6 win over visiting Hamilton.

It was the 26th straight division win for the Warriors dating back to the 2013 season and improved them to 4-0 this year. Nanih Waiya is ranked No. 1 in the state in one Class 1A poll and No. 2 in a pair of others.

This week, Keeton’s bunch will go on the road for the first time since a season-opening win at Hatley way back on Aug. 17, as Nanih Waiya travels to Sebastopol.

The Bobcats are 3-1 overall and 1-0 in district play after a 26-6 win at Ethel last week. Last year Nanih Waiya defeated Sebastopol 56-0, but it wound up being the only division loss for the Bobcats – who finished 8-5 overall and 7-1 in league play.

“We caught them on a week last year when we probably played one of our better games and they were still putting things together,” Keeton said. “We know they’re going to be one of the teams in our league competing for a playoff spot.”

Last week Nanih Waiya rolled up 327 yards of total offense while giving up only 90 yards and three first downs to Hamilton. Shia Moore led the defensive charge with 10 total tackles and had a line which also included four solo stops, one sack, and two tackles for a loss.

Austin Sanders recorded six total tackles, while Taemaus Glass had five. Roper Ball had a fumble recovery; Glass, Charner Estes and Deon Hickman all had tackles for a loss; Hickman had a sack and an interception; and Taylor Higginbotham had an interception.

Offensively, Glass ran for three touchdowns in the first half as Nanih Waiya jumped to a commanding 42-0 lead.

Glass opened the scoring with a 13-yard run in the first quarter and Ball followed with the first of six straight successful point-after kicks.

Estes got in on the scoring action next with a 52-yard touchdown pass from Bryce Stanton. Then, Chris Smith scored on a 5-yard touchdown run which made it 21-0 at the end of the first quarter.

Glass ran for two more touchdowns in the second quarter. The first was 1-yarder that made it 28-0, and the second was a 7-yarder that pushed the lead to 35-0.

Stanton scored the final touchdown of the first half by galloping 40 yards for a score, and Ball’s kick made it 42-0. Ball hit a 32-yard field goal in the third quarter to push the lead to 45-0 before Hamilton got on the board.

The only scoring of the fourth quarter came from Higginbotham, who returned his interception for a touchdown. Franklin Jenkins added the two-point conversion run.

Stanton’s 84 yards rushing on four carries led all Nanih Waiya ball carriers, while Glass ran for 83 yards and the three TDs on 11 carries.

Stanton also threw for 93 yards, with Estes hauling in two catches for 67 yards as the leading receiver.