Protection leads Columbus over Southaven in house opener


The bang was low, the punt high, and the luck of the Columbus High School football team was about to change.

Less than a minute before the end of Friday’s home opener against Southaven and the Falcons within their own 15-yard line, Senior Darion Mosley snapped a snapshot by his ankle and sent a huge, short punt away.

The soccer ball descended from the blue-black sky and hit a Southaven player with the back on the crown of his orange helmet.

Columbus’s Hemyar Nagi jumped on the ball at 31, and the Falcons (1-1) were lucky enough to miss them again and again in 2020 to beat the Chargers (1-1) on Friday night 6-10 seal.

“We didn’t get those jumps last year,” said Columbus coach Joshua Pulphus.

The Falcons are also unlikely to win a game without a single offensive touchdown, a milestone they missed in the first two competitions of 2021.

But on Friday night, Columbus’s defense was enough.

Senior defensive back Michael Mosley finally got the Falcons into position in the second quarter by returning an interception 64 yards for a touchdown, and the defense bowed and bowed and never broke with the Chargers unable to break through.

“We played our hearts out tonight,” said Michael Mosley. “We had to move up because we knew what was at stake, so we just went out and played ball.”

Neither team scored a goal in the second half as each team exchanged punts in the final 24 minutes of the game. But with 1 minute, 22 seconds to go, Southaven fumbled the ball at the Falcons 8-yard line, a major mistake that nearly cost the Chargers their last chance.

Then Columbus went three and out as running back Tawonn Troop was crammed on the second and third down after an 8 yard win on the first down. Southaven called out all three of the series timeouts and prepared to take one final drive for victory.

But the hawks were ready to stop it.

“The defense said, ‘Just get us back on the field,'” said Pulphus.

In the end, they never had to. Nagi jumped on the fumbled punt and Columbus went into the winning formation, kneeling once to pass the clock.

“I’m proud of my boys,” said Pulphus. “I knew it was going to be a fight.”

Columbus senior Isaiah Harris (19) makes a duel at home against Southaven on Friday. The hawks hit the chargers with 10-6. Photo by: Theo DeRosa / Dispatcher

The two teams put zeros in three of the four quarters, and all of Friday’s goals came in an eventful second period.

After a partially blocked punt landed in the hands of Jamarion Moody at Southaven 15, Columbus opted for a 28-yard field goal from Darion Mosley just seconds in the quarter.

Injuries to two back-to-back Southaven quarterbacks in back-to-back games hurt the Chargers, but they mounted a touchdown drive after a failed punt snap Darion Mosley was unable to kick off.

Southaven started from the Falcons’ 32 and marched into the end zone, with Dontavious Brevard hitting the fourth goal and the goal for the 1 to give the Chargers the lead. A two-point conversion pass never achieved its intended goal unless the intended goal was the ground.

Dewayne Graham Jr. intercepted Columbus’ Omari Williams in the next series, but Michael Mosley skipped a route, grabbed the pass and started on the right sideline for the eventual winner.

It was the second interception of the game for Mosley, who threw a deep pass straight at him in Southaven’s first game after Scrimmage.

“It’s been great for Michael Mosley because he’s so special,” said Pulphus of the second quarter selection. “He has a chance to do a lot of great things. He is on the verge of a breakout year. Mike has always been the guy who can do wonders with the ball in hand, from special teams to defense to offense. “

The win gives Columbus a huge boost in a four-game schedule that includes strong teams from the north of the state. The Falcons visited Starkville last week, a 28-0 loss, and they will host Louisville next week before playing at Tupelo on September 17th.

“As I tell my boys, if we finish this gauntlet 0-4, 4-0, 2-2 – whatever our record in the end – it will only prepare us against the competition from Starkville, Louisville, Southaven and To compete with Tupelo for our goal of reaching the playoffs, ”said Pulphus. “We’re still rebuilding and trying to get things going in the right direction.

“We planned it hard for a reason,” he added. “The kids knew and they hugged and were ready for the challenge.”

Columbus 10, Southaven 6

Southaven (1-1) 0 6 0 0 – 6

Columbus (1-1) 0 10 0 0 – 10

Second quarter

C – Darion Mosley 28 FG, 11:51

S – Dontavious Brevard 1 run (pass failed), 6:35

C – Michael Mosley 64 Interception Return (D. Mosley Kick), 2:57

Theo DeRosa reports on Mississippi State sport for The Dispatch. Follow him on Twitter at @Theo_DeRosa.