Photo/James Pugh

Beating rival Bay Springs was not the goal for Taylorsville this season. Despite the palpable hype surrounding Thursday’s matchup, the Tartars were supposed to treat it like a stepping stone and not their Super Bowl, according to first-year coach Mitch Evans. 

In the end, it turned out to be a tale of two halves. The 2A heavyweights exchanged blows in the first half and were tied 14-14 at the intermission. Described by many as a second half team, Taylorsville took care of business in the final two quarters, outscoring Bay Springs, 21-0, to pick up a 35-14 win and remain unbeaten at 7-0. 

Put the halves together, and you get what Evans called an “average” night offensively for the Tartars. 

For video highlights and Tartars head coach Mitch Evans full postgame interview, click on the following link: https://youtu.be/CE-wfQP-Yhw

Still, Taylorsville sophomore quarterback Ty Keyes passed for a season-high 427 yards and four touchdowns. Keyes’ go-to weapon, Raven Arrington, finished with nine catches for 219 yards and two scores. And for the trifecta, Jalon Clark also caught two touchdowns from Keyes. Clark added a pick-six on defense, which is where Evans said the Tartars shined most on the night. 

Even that wasn’t pretty in the early going, though. On Bay Springs’ first possession of the game, the Bulldogs put together a quick 77-yard touchdown drive. Anson Windham’s 65-yard scamper set up a 4-yard rushing touchdown from Jamarius Hosey, as Bay Springs jumped out to a 7-0 lead just five minutes into the game. 

Taylorsville tied the game 7-7 early in the second quarter when Keyes found Clark for a 16-yard Tartar touchdown. But with 6:51 left in the first half, Bay Springs retook the lead with more big plays from their running game. Hosey broke off a 45-yard run, and quarterback Adrian Cole followed with a 7-yard rushing score.

Twenty seconds later, Taylorsville tied it up again. On the Tartars’ first play of their ensuing possession, Keyes hit Arrington for a 55-yard touchdown, tying the game at 14-14. Despite a late red zone trip in the first half for Taylorsville, that score held leading into halftime. 

As previously mentioned, Taylorsville proceeded to flex its muscles in the second half. Keyes added two more touchdown passes in the third quarter, hitting Arrington on one and Clark on the other. Heading into the fourth, the Tartars had all the momentum and led 28-14. The final nail in the coffin came with 3:56 left in the game, as Clark capped off his impressive night and his team’s second half surge with a 50-yard pick-six, giving Taylorsville a 35-14 win. 

Defensively, Taylorsville limited Windham and Hosey to 11 yards in the second half after the Bay Springs duo combined for 134 in the first.

What’s Next

Taylorsville (7-0) will travel to Lumberton (5-0) next Friday for a battle of unbeaten teams, and Bay Springs (4-3) will play host to Clarkdale. 

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