TISHOMINGO — The Tishomingo Indians have had the Kingston Redskins’ number for much of the last decade. The last two seasons in particular, losses to Tishomingo have relegated the Redskins to the fourth-place finishers in District 2A-4, sending them on the road to face number-one seeds.
Friday, that changed.
The Redskins notched a victory over their rivals, taking a 34-9 road win with a balanced offensive attack and a solid defensive effort.
The Indians remain winless on the season, but they looked like anything but an 0-4 team on their inaugural drive, on which they kept the chains moving and eventually drew first blood on a 22-yard field goal by Nathan Knight.
After Kingston (2-2) scored touchdowns on three of its first four possessions for a 20-3 lead, the Indians showed further moxie when they received the ball with 59 seconds remaining in the first half, and clawed their way into the end zone with 4 seconds showing on the clock to put them right back in the mix.
But this was the Redskins’ year, and probably no one in the stadium was prouder of Kingston’s performance than coach John Caraway, who said before the game that the outcome would probably have playoff implications.
“It’s a big game,” Caraway had said. “There’s a pretty good chance that it’s going to make a difference later on down the road.”
The game was probably as important as a district opener could be. The Redskins are 1-0 in district play, and return home next week to face the Konawa Tigers for homecoming. The Indians take to the road to face the Coalgate in another match that could prove pivotal for playoff assignments.
Statistically, the numbers told essentially the same story as the score: the Indians had their moments, but were not able to stay with Kingston for four quarters. The Redskins out-gained the home team 414 yards to 223. Much of that damage was inflicted in the passing game, with quarterback Jared Hayes completing 12 of his 15 attempts for 239 yards, 3 touchdowns and no interceptions.
Kingston freshman standout Paden Hayes led the way with 90 yards receiving, the bulk of which came on an 80-yard touchdown pass from Jared Hayes. Paden Hayes has gained 90 or more yards receiving in each of the last two games.
Defensively, Shane Wirick and Garrett Bishop came away with takeaways, with each recovering fumbles. Danny Charley provided several big hits, and it seemed clear that Blankenship’s return to his linebacker spot made an impact on the Redskins’ defensive performance. A tackle for a loss by Redskin Chris Stowe on Tishomingo’s opening possession helped set the tone for Kingston defense.
The Redskins’ offensive line was able to create running lanes and protect the quarterback despite the absence of injured tackle Zach Aplin (foot).
While there were bright spots for both squads, they both left the match with several areas for improvement. Tishomingo coaches would probably like to have done a better job against Kingston’s quarterback draws out of the spread formation. Penalties stood as an uncharacteristic blemish for the Redskins, who were flagged nine times for 66 yards.