The Cleveland Central High School Wolves, the fifth ranked team in the Mississippi Associated Press 5A Poll, played the role of lion tamers here Friday night at Mickey Sellers Stadium.
CCHS had a productive night on offense by picking up 497 total yards on 65 plays to down to the Rosa Fort Lions 44-6. The Wolves improved to 4-0 while Rosa Fort dropped to 0-3.
Senior quarterback Kamarion Williams, at 6-foot-9, completed 16-of-26 passes for 280 yards with two touchdowns and no picks to lead CCHS. The Wolves, as a team, also ran for 217 yards on 39 attempts. To go with his 280 passing yards, Williams also rushed for 21 yards with a touchdown on five carries.
“Everyday with him is a joy to coach,” Wolves head coach Ricky Smither said. “He soaks up so much stuff and now he’s realized how important he is to our football team. It’s fun to watch him. He’s like a sponge. He’s sucking up everything I’m giving him. He’s making the right reads. The offensive line is protecting him, and we’re clicking on all cylinders.”
Williams also had some great receiving targets to throw to. Peyton Taylor recorded six catches for 111 yards with a touchdown; Traveyon Craig caught eight passes for 93 yards and Demontavious King caught a 74-yard pass for a touchdown.
“I’ve coached some pretty good guys and I was blessed to coach Julio Jones, but these three maybe the best three I’ve ever coached,” Smither said. “They come to work everyday. They work their butts off. Peyton is a huge surprise to us. He was playing basketball last year. He came in and he’s picking it up. It’s a pleasure to coach all three of them and they’re dynamic.”
In the run game for Cleveland Central, Larry Tyler rushed for 74 yards with a touchdown on 10 carries, Keveon Wade rushed for 41 yards with a touchdown on nine carries, Craig rushed for 36 yards with a touchdown on three carries, Jaylen Ward rushed for 27 yards on seven carries and Alfred Weir rushed for 16 yards with a touchdown on three carries.
The Wolves’ defense was equally as impressive as the Lions gained just 61 total yards of offense on 37 plays. Out of those 37 plays, the Lions lost yardage 13 times. Nick Smith racked up nine total tackles with a fumble recovery, Montavious Thomas recorded six tackles with a sack, Demarrion Jackson racked up five tackles, Tyler Smith recorded five total tackles with two sacks, Cameron Howard had three tackles with two sacks, Shamar Sanders had three tackles with a sack, Lagarious Brown recorded a sack and Rashad Harbin finished with three tackles and an interception to round out the Wolves’ defense.
“If you come and watch them practice, coach (Trac) Baughn and his staff get after their butts,” Smither said about the defense. “If you come watch us practice, you would think our offense is horrible. We can’t move the ball on them. Those guys are flying around and coach Baughn and his group has them playing well.”
Rosa Fort is under the direction of former Cleveland High School standout Kwame Jackson. Former Shaw High head coach Kendrick Smith is an assistant coach on the squad.
Jackson said he is impressed with the new school and enjoyed returning to his old high school football field.
“It was good coming back and showing our guys that we have to compete with teams that are bigger and faster,” Jackson said. “I like what they’ve got going on here and that’s one reason why I wanted to play Cleveland to show our guys when you play competition guys that are bigger and better it’s about being mentally and physically ready.”
Rosa Fort battled hard through out the game and was able to put up some points in the third quarter when Kobey Island threw a pass to Mondrel Boykins that resulted in a 15-yard TD reception to cut Cleveland Central’s lead to 31-6 at that point. Boykins finished with three catches for 41 yards with a touchdown and Island completed 7-of-16 passes for 70 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Tony Williams also caught four passes for 29 yards for the Lions. For the game, the Lions struggled the most running the football as they were held to just -9 yards on 21 total carries.
Smither said he was impressed with the talent on the Lions’ team.
“I would hate to catch them five games from now,” Smither said. “Coach (Kwame) Jackson does a tremendous job. Him and coach Smith both played here. I would hate to catch them in five games. They’ve got some athletes and some big kids. He’s going to turn that program around.”
Even though Cleveland Central is ranked in the AP Poll, Smither said rankings aren’t a concern right now.
“We don’t even talk about that to be honest with you,” Smither said. “The polls to me aren’t important until the championship game. That’s when they’re important. It doesn’t matter where we’re ranked now. It matters where we’re going to be in the end. We’re just taking each week as a challenge, trying to get better from the week before and staying humble in the end.”
Cleveland Central will return to the gridiron on Friday when the team travels to Clarksdale to take on the Clarksdale High School Wildcats at 7 p.m.