Canton’s Tyquan Henderson tries to break away from Ridgeland tacklers Zion Nason (56) and Genada Byrd (11) Friday night in Canton.
Canton’s Tyquan Henderson tries to break away from Ridgeland tacklers Zion Nason (56) and Genada Byrd (11) Friday night in Canton.
It looks like Region 2-5A might just run through Ridgeland.

The Titans picked up their biggest win under first-year coach David White last week with a stunning 28-7 win over previously unbeaten Canton, and although it’s still early, find themselves in the cat-bird seat headed into Week 7 of the high school season.

The road doesn’t get any harder from here, but it doesn’t get easier either. The next three games will be critical - the Titans will sandwich a home date against Callaway between road trips to Cleveland Central and Vicksburg.

Win those three, and there may be some room for error in the final three weeks against Neshoba Central, at Holmes County and against still-undefeated Provine in the regular season finale.

“I don’t know much about these teams and this region,” said White, who moved to Mississippi from Nevada earlier this year. “I don’t know who we are supposed to beat, and who we aren’t supposed to beat, and I keep telling our guys that it doesn’t matter what has happened last year or the year before - it doesn’t matter whether they beat you last year or you beat them.”

That’s certainly true of Friday night’s victory.  In 2018, the Titans edged the Tigers in a 38-35 shootout.

The 2019 version was a beat-down.

Junior quarterback Zy McDonald was extremely effective running the Titan offense. He completed 15 of his 25 passes (60 percent) for 237 yards and two touchdowns and averaged 5.6 yards on 11 carries.

McDonald connected with two of his favorite targets Yamarus Banks and Richard Mays for the scoring passes. Banks led all receivers with five catches for 103 yards. J.D. Wilkerson caught four passes for 64 yards and Devin Chambers brought in four for 32.

Tailback Markell Young touched the ball 17 times and finished with 78 yards on the ground and 13 through the air.

The Ridgeland offense finished the night with 401 total yards and 556 all-purpose yards.

Defensively, the Titans were even better.

They got after Canton quarterback Jacobian Morgan all night, and although they only recorded one sack (from Zion Nason), it disrupted everything Canton wanted to do.

Banks, who doubles as a defensive back picked off a pass and returned it 81 yards for a touchdown in the first half. J.J. Waites did it again in the second half, but his 77-yard return was called back for holding. Caleb Canada forced one fumble.

“We just did an excellent job of getting off the ball on almost every snap,” White said. “We had our keys and certain things we were looking for and we played with more confidence. Slowly but surely… we’re getting guys in better position.”

White made the decision earlier in the week to move safety Pat Wilkerson down into the box to play linebacker, and that paid off. Wilkerson played perhaps his best game, successfully defending three passes and earning credit for five one-on-one tackles.

“He’s a hard worker and a good kid,” White said. “He’s just limited at times play ring safety, and with the style of offense we were facing and the kind of defense we wanted to counter with, it made sense. I had a conversation with him and told him it would put him in a position to play better and with more confidence.”

As frustrating a night as Canton had, the Tigers (4-1) are still in pretty good shape. Calvin Bolton’s squad will hit the road this week with a trip to Lexington for a tilt with Holmes County Central (3-3, 0-1 in Region 2-5A).