Deer Creek scored on a 44-yard run from scrimmage eight minutes into the first quarter and again on a 79-yard pass with 6:54 to play in the contest. Sandwiched in between, the DeSoto Thunderbirds rolled off 27 unanswered points and came out with a 27-12 win Friday night.
The T-Bird offense was a little sluggish on their first two possessions going three and out. The Warriors managed to score on its second possession of the night, making it the first time in 2013 that DeSoto had to battle from behind. Deer Creek was the Thunderbirds' toughest opponent to date.
DeSoto finally got their offense on track in the second quarter, picking up their first, first down of the contest. The T-Birds steadily marched the ball down the field behind the punishing running of Bradley Harper and Griffin Christine. Quarterback Zac Manning hooked up with Reed St. Columbia for what appeared to be a 26-yard scoring strike on a fourth down play but the play was called back for an illegal block.
Still, the T-Birds managed to pick up a crucial first down. Harper eventually punched the ball in from four yards out for DeSoto's first score of the night. Rowland Brothers' extra point put the Thunderbirds up 7-6 giving them a lead they would not relinquish.
The Warriors were on the move when an illegal block penalty stalled the drive. DeSoto took advantage of the mistake and with 2:27 left to play in the half, Ryan Self punched the ball into the end zone from two yards out. A 24-yard pass from Manning to Harper inside the Deer Creek 15 set up the TD.
Trailing 14-6, Deer Creek refused to roll over and quit. The Warriors put together an impressive drive before they turned the ball over on downs inside the DeSoto five. The drive was costly to the Warriors. They not only failed to put any points on the board but their starting quarterback went down with a injury that shelved him the remainder of the contest.
Penalties were a problem for both squads during the contest. Previously, DeSoto had been flagged only four times in their first three games. They doubled their number of penalties on the season in Friday's contest.
DeSoto's first scoring opportunity of second half came when Sam Howe blocked a Deer Creek fumble at the Warrior 31. Two plays later, the T-Birds were on the scoreboard again when St. Columbia hauled in a 21-yard toss from Manning to go up 21-6. The blocked kick and eventual score appeared to take what little wind was left in the Warriors' sails.
It appeared as though DeSoto would be knocking on Deer Creek's door again when St. Columbia returned a punt 28 yards to the Deer Creek 42 but the T-Birds eventually turned the ball over on downs.
Page 2 of 2 - A partially blocked punt set up the T-Birds' final score of the night. Taking possession at the Deer Creek 15, the Thunderbirds' Christine pounded the ball inside the five. With 7:46 to play, Harper ran the ball in from four yards out.
DeSoto 4-0, returns home Friday to the friendly confines of Sam Howe Field to battle the Tunica Academy Blue Devils. The Blue Devils, 3-1, defeated Lee Academy, 41-13 Friday night. Tunica's only loss to date came at the hands of conference newcomer Marshall Academy.
Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.