COLUMBUS, Miss., - The New Hope Trojans were able to lock up the No. 2 seed in the Class 5A North Playoff Friday night taking care of business against Gentry 31-14.
The second seeding was of utter importance for the Trojans to be able to host the first round of the playoffs and will do so against Callaway next week.
"That's where you want to be, you want to be at home to start the playoffs," said New Hope head coach Scott Bradley. "We are going to be facing a real tough Callaway team. They've got some big linemen and some really good running backs and have gotten a lot of good play at quarterback in the second half of the season and it's going to be a big challenge for us."
The Trojans (7-4, 5-2) took control of Friday's game against Gentry right from the start and finished with 351 yards. New Hope was able to balance their attack with 207 yards through the air and gained 144 yards on the ground.
"We made some big plays but made a lot of mental errors on offense tonight," Bradley said. "We made some big plays and (Frank Richardson) is a playmaker. Anytime you can get the ball in his hands you'd better lookout because something big is fixing to happen. We're just hoping to get some more kids healthy and maybe some big things will happen for us."
Richardson only touched the ball three times on offense and finished with 94 yards carrying twice for 32 yards and hauling in a 62-yard touchdown pass.
Zak Thrasher competed 10-of-23 passing for 207 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.
Johnny Beamon was the leading Trojan receiver with five catches for 56 yards and also added an 8-yard touchdown run. Terrance Dentry paced the rushing attack with 15 carries for 43 yards and a score.
New Hope put up points on their opening drive of the game when Tanner Ryals drilled home a 39-yard field goal for an early 3-0 lead.
The Trojans extended their lead on the following possession after taking over at midfield. New Hope marched nine plays and crossed the goal line on a 8-yard jet sweep by Beamon.
The score would remain 10-0 until midway through the second quarter when the Trojans once again found the end zone. Thrasher orchestrated an 11-play, 91-yard drive capped off by a two-yard touchdown run by Dentry.
Gentry would get on the board with 46-seconds remaining before the end of the half on the ensuing drive. Kemong Crawford completed three consecutive passes with the final going to Demetrius Campbell for a 5-yard touchdown. The extra point clanked off the left upright keeping the score 17-6.
But the Trojans needed only one play to answer. Instead of taking a knee and heading into the locker room with the lead, New Hope elected to take a shot and it paid off. Thrasher hit Richardson on a short crossing route and cut 62-yards up the right sideline for the score. Ryals' PAT gave the Trojans a 24-6 halftime advantage.
Following a scoreless third quarter, New Hope was able to score once more on their first possession of the fourth. Thrasher dropped back and hit Darius Petty in stride for a 35-yard scoring strike down the middle of the field. Ryals point after gave the Trojans a commanding 31-6 lead.
Gentry added their final score with just under six minutes to play when Mississippi State commitment Rufus Warren scooped up a fumble from his defensive end position and rumbled 74-yards for the touchdown.
"Nobody blocked me and I saw the ball," Warren said. "The quarterback tried to get the ball so I just pushed him to the side and it was just a regular scoop and score. That was just textbook football."
The Rams season ends with a 3-8 record. Gentry had 195 yards against the Trojans with 129 yards coming through the passing game.
Campbell led the Rams in both rushing and receiving. He carried 11 times for 58 yards and hauled in eight passes for 60 yards. Warren made three catches for 42 yards.
Crawford completed 11-of-21 passing for 121 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions.