WATSON — Scotlandville calls its secondary the “No Fly Zone.” On Friday night against district rival Live Oak, the Hornets showed why.
With the game at a manageable 22-7 deficit in the fourth quarter for Live Oak, the Scotlandville secondary stepped up to produce a pair of pick-sixes to seal the game 34-7 in favor of the Hornets.
Just after the whistle blew to start the fourth quarter, Scotlandville (8-1, 3-2 in District 4-5A) cornerback Reggie Cleveland made a perfectly timed jump on Live Oak quarterback Ryan Morris’ pass into the flat and returned the interception 30 yards for a touchdown.
Only two minutes later, linebacker Tylan Davis returned another interception for a score.
“It felt good, but we did it as a team,” Cleveland said. “We call ourselves the ‘No Fly Zone’, and that’s what we did tonight.”
Scotlandville coach Robert Valdez said he was pleased to see the defense spark the victory on a night when the typically explosive offense wasn’t firing on all cylinders.
“You have to play that kind of defense down the stretch,” Valdez said. “The offense gets a lot of attention, but in order to win week in and week out, you have to have strong defensive efforts.”
Valdez attributed his team’s lack of success offensively to Live Oak’s defense, which consistently put pressure on quarterback Levi Lewis.
Lewis registered 192 yards on 12-of-21 passing, most of which came off his two touchdown passes of 75 and 22 yards, both to wide receiver David Armstead.
On the ground, Lewis finished with minus-6 yards as the Live Oak defensive front created pressure with four sacks.
In a scary moment for Live Oak (5-4, 2-2), Morris had to be carted off by medical staff after taking a devastating hit on the second of Scotlandville’s pick-sixes with a little more than nine minutes to play.
Morris gave a thumbs up to teammates while being taken off the field, and Live Oak coach Brett Beard said the junior was coherent and able to feel his limbs but was unsure of any specific diagnosis.
“That’s life. You have to keep rolling,” Beard said of having to finish the rest of the game after losing his quarterback. “You have to look it in the eyes and continue to do your job.”
But even before the injury, the Eagles struggled offensively all night with five total turnovers, three of which directly resulted in scores.
The lone highlight for the Eagles came early in the second quarter when Morris rolled out of the pocket to find wide receiver Hunter Kelley in the end zone on a 22-yard pass.
Morris finished the game with 80 yards and three interceptions on 9-of-17 passing before leaving the game.
“We fought toe-to-toe with them and then gave up 21 points off of offense. You can’t do that,” Beard said. “You can’t get a big stop and then turn around and fumble (near) the end zone and give them a touchdown. That’s a momentum killer.”