STONEWALL – The Minden Crimson Tide traveled to North DeSoto last season and fell hard, 23-0.
What a difference a year makes.
On Friday night, the Tide were back in the same stadium where they lost that game and the same quarterback that tossed five interceptions was under center once again, but this time, as head coach Spencer Heard predicted, the result was much better.
“It was a great win for us,” Heard said. “North DeSoto is a very good team that plays physical football. I was proud of our guys for coming out and being able to match their physicality. I think the fans got their money’s worth.”
Minden started the game with a nice drive that ended with a 22-yard touchdown pass from Antonio Rivette to L’Jarius Sneed to make it 7-0.
The Crimson Swarm defense went back to work and forced another punt, and on the first play of Minden’s second drive they scored their second touchdown as Rivette took a quarterback keeper up the middle for a 68-yard touchdown run to give the Tide an early 14-0 lead.
The Griffin’s couldn’t get anything going against the Tide defense until late in the second quarter when Kyler Radford found Maguire Parker for a 14-yard score to get North DeSoto on the scoreboard.
On the first play of the second half, Rivette went back to work on the ground, breaking loose for a 50-yard touchdown run that put him over the century mark.
With Minden leading 21-7, things got interesting in the third quarter.
North DeSoto established their running game with a series of off-tackle runs by Delmonte Hall. Hall scored on a 16-yard run to make it 21-14. The Griffins opted for an onside kick on the ensuing kickoff and it was successful, giving possession right back to the Griffins. three plays later Hall was in the end zone again, bringing the score to 21-20.
Minden drove the field and scored to respond, this drive finished off with Rivette’s third rushing score of the day.
North DeSoto fought furiously, scoring three touchdowns in the final quarter of play, but it was a familiar face stepping up to save the day for Minden.
With six minutes to play and the Tide leading 29-27, L’Jarius Sneed got the ball on a speed sweep moving left. Sneed had to wait behind a pair of blockers who were out in front, but his patience paid off as the big boys found Griffins to block and Sneed raced 63-yards untouched for the score.
North DeSoto took less than one minute to respond with a touchdown to make the score 36-33, but Sneed silenced the home crowd with an impressive run after the catch on a well-executed screen pass that ended with Sneed in the end zone to make the score 43-33.
“He’s just become an incredible player,” Heard said of his star senior. “We’ve been able to utilize him so well and he gives us that spark. Anytime he touches the ball good things are going to happen. He’s a very fun player to watch and even more fun to coach.”
North DeSoto refused to give up, working their way downfield and scoring with 2:35 to go.
On the ensuing onside kick, North DeSoto appeared to recover which would have set up a potential winning drive, but the Griffins were flagged for illegal touching prior to the kick traveling 10 yards.
The Tide worked the clock under one minute, before punting the ball back to the Griffins, but Patrick Heard ended any hope of a miracle with an interception right in front of a relieved Spencer Heard.
“It felt like a someone lifted a couple of hundred pound weights off my back,” Spencer Heard said. “It was an extremely emotional moment for the whole team; just a very wonderful moment.”
Rivette finished with 166 yards rushing and three scores, adding 148 yards passing and two more scores.
Sneed finished with three catches for 99 yards and a pair of touchdowns, adding 81 yards rushing and another touchdown. Kelcey Miller caught three passes for 34 yards, Tavarius Edwards caught two passes for nine yards and Adrian Flournoy had one catch for five yards and a big first down. Rodtravion Rogers carried for 10 yards rushing.