INDEPENDENCE - After losing in the Class 3A state quarterfinals last season, Amite quarterback Reginald Porter made a promise to head coach Alden Foster that he would have a better year as a senior in 2011.
Through six games in the 2011 season, so far, so good for Porter and the Warriors.
Porter, who was an All-State performer in 2010 as a defensive back, completed 17 of 29 passes for 199 and a touchdown while rushing for 112 yards and a score as third-ranked Amite defeated fourth-ranked Independence, 28-7 on Friday night at Tiger Stadium.
Juwaan Rogers scored on a pair of 1-yard runs while Joshua Gibson caught seven passes for 118 yards as Amite (5-1, 1-0 in 8-3A) piled up 336 yards total offense and used a 22-point second quarter to erase an early 7-0 deficit. Reginald Bennett and Joshua Brown each picked off passes for Amite, which defeated Independence (4-2, 0-1 in 8-3A) for the 12th time in the past 14 contests while holding the Tigers to 183 yards total offense.
“He’s just been doing it all year,” Foster said. “You kind of pick your poison when you’re playing defense because he can throw and he can run it. He’s just having a sensational year and he’s a kid that’s qualified already. His stock is just rising and rising.”
“They were a better team than us tonight,” Independence coach Keith Carona said. “They made some mistakes early and we made some mistakes early that really got us behind the 8-ball. They beat us on offense, defense and special teams. It doesn’t mean we’re not a good team, because we are, but they were better than us tonight.”
Independence went three-and-out on its first two possessions, but took advantage when Davon Steptoe recovered a muffed punt by James Oden at the Amite 20.
One play later, Miquel Toefield broke a pair of potential tackles and skirted around the right side for a 20-yard touchdown to give the Tigers a 7-0 lead with 4:59 remaining in the first quarter.
The Tigers drove to the Amite 40 on their next possession before Bennett picked off an Oscar Briggs pass and returned it 27 yards to the Amite 47. The Warriors, who were aided by a roughing the passer penalty that erased Michael Toefield’s interception of Porter, cut the lead to 7-6 with 8:26 remaining in the half when Rogers scored on a 1-yard plunge over the right side.
Amite capitalized on a fumbled punt return by Indy’s Laddarius Butler at the Indy 23, and Porter capped the drive five plays later with a 3-yard touchdown run. Porter tossed a 2-point conversion to Gibson that gave Amite a 14-7 lead with 5:52 left in the half.
Independence drove to the Amite 28 on its next possession after a 37-yard pass from Briggs to Butler, but the Warrior defense stiffened, getting a sack on third-and-10 by Chester Brumfield and Tarius Autmon to stop the drive.
Starting at its own 9, Porter engineered an eight-play drive that was aided by completions of 11 and 13 yards to Gibson and a 34-yard run by Porter to the Tiger 11. After an Amite penalty that moved the ball back to the 16, Porter scampered 12 yards to the Indy 4 before having a pass batted at the line by a Tiger defender on second-and-3.
The ball ended up in the hands of offensive lineman Fred Glover, and he rumbled into the end zone with 12 seconds remaining in the first half to give the Warriors a commanding lead. A holding penalty on Amite’s two-point attempt moved the ball back to the 16, but Porter found Gibson in the back corner of the end zone to give the Warriors a 22-7 lead at halftime.
Briggs completed 8 of 18 passes for 112 yards for 115 yards for Independence with Butler catching four passes for 53 yards. Shannon Cage led the Tigers with 33 yards rushing on six carries.