CUMBERLAND, Miss., - In a night where top ranked East Webster saw its offense struggle out of the gate, their defense was right there to pick up the slack.
The Wolverines defensive unit led by Tanner Roberson overwhelmed East Oktibbeha (1-7) holding them to negative-29 yards of offense and forcing seven turnovers in a 62-0 shutout win for homecoming to remain undefeated at 10-0.
"(The defense) swarmed to the football real well," said East Webster head coach Jimmy Carden. "Even when we got as far down as the third group, they swarmed to the ball real well. We have pretty good speed on defense. We are not overly fast but we are pretty quick all the way around. All of them got to the football well and we knew what they were going to do. We responded to it pretty well."
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The Wolverines were held scoreless until the 1:41 mark of the first quarter. Carden believes some of the outside festivities may have distracted his team during the opening quarter.
"We were flat," Carden said. "That was the poorest first quarter we have played in a long time. We just sort of stammered along. It was just slow. The homecoming festivities and senior night, there was a lot going on this week. This is one that you just go out and try to get it taken care of and move on from there."
East Webster got things rolling by the second quarter scoring six times to lead 42-0 at halftime.
Mississippi State commit Jonathan Banks showcased his abilities racking up 139 all-purpose yards, two touchdowns and one defensive interception in first half action. Banks led the Wolverines with 84 yards on seven carries and a touchdown while passing for 25 more yards and another score.
"We started off slow but we had a lot of leadership on the field and found a way to get the job done."
Reggie O'Briant added 61 yards on seven carries and a touchdown for the Wolverines.
"We blocked pretty well," Carden said. "Reggie ran the ball well and Jonathan moved the ball well. We moved the ball from a lot of different formations. Everything we tried pretty much worked with the first and second bunch. They performed pretty well."
Jermaine Liggins was the leading receiver with two catches for 16 yards and a score for East Webster.
After a sluggish start, the Wolverines finally got things going on their fourth drive of the evening. East Webster's defense pinned the Titans at their own 7-yard line and after a short punt, took over at the 24-yard line. It only took the Wolverines two plays to cross the goal line when Reggie O'Briant ran in from 6-yards out. Christopher Gordon added the point after for the 7-0 lead.
East Webster extended their lead on their first possession of the second quarter. The Wolverines went 47 yards in five plays and reached pay dirt when Michael Flowers ran in from 7-yards out for the 13-0 advantage.
The East Webster defense got in on the scoring next. With the Titans pinned in their own end zone, Jermaine Hollingshed tackled running back Jessie Logan in his own end zone for a safety.
Liggins returned the free kick 39-yards to the East Okitibbeha 20-yard line setting up a Demetrius O'Briant 10-yard touchdown run five plays later. Gordon kicked the extra point for a 22-0 lead.
East Webster continued to press their advantage on their next possession. After a 27-yard punt return by Banks and a 26-yard scamper by Reggie O'Briant, Banks found Liggins in the end zone from 4-yards out for the score. Gordon booted the PAT putting the Wolverines up by 29 points.
Not to be outdone, the East Webster special teams put up points on the ensuing drive. The Wolverine defense held East Oktibbeha to three and out and forced a punt out of their own end zone. The punt snap was bobbled and Taylor Williams alertly fell on it for the East Webster score. Gordon kicked the extra point putting the score at 36-0.
The Wolverines would score once more before the end of the first half. Banks intercepted a Lexie Edwards pass and was rewarded for his efforts seven plays later. Banks scrambled in from 21-yards out with 23 seconds left before halftime for the 42-0 advantage.
East Webster opened the second half with a bang. Demetrius O'Briant returned the opening kickoff 76-yards to set up his own 5-yard dive on the next play. Timakas Bell fell on a fumbled ball in the end zone for the two-point conversion for a 50-0 lead.
The Wolverines cashed in on yet another East Oktibbeha turnover for their next points. Jay McKee recovered a fumble for East Webster inside the 10-yard line to set up a 9-yard scurry by Demetrius O'Briant putting the Wolverines up by 56 points.
The final score of the evening came when Austin Harrison plowed in from 6-yards out with 23 seconds remaining in the third quarter.
The Titans only crossed midfield once and managed just two first downs the entire evening both on the final drive of the game.