Mount Ida's relentless rushing attack rolled up 537 yards, eventually wearing down Quitman as the Lions pulled away in the second half, scoring 35 unanswered points for a 70-49 victory in a 5-2A conference showdown on Senior Night Friday at Bulldog Stadium.
Running back Josh Hall was a workhorse for the Lions, carrying 28 times for 357 yards and six touchdowns. “Their running back had a career night. He took over,” said Quitman Coach Fritz Heidenreich. “A lot of his runs were 30, 40, 50 yards. They ran the ball extremely well and only threw one pass.”
Quitman came out strong in the first half, holding leads of 6-0, 14-0, 21-7, 28-7 and 35-21 before Mt. Ida tied the game on two touchdown runs by Hall, including one from 1-yard out with 33 seconds left until halftime.
“We started out real good,” said Heidenreich. “Walker Johnson hit Hunter Martin for a couple of touchdowns and Allen Mannon was running good and we had some big plays.”
The Bulldogs, now 2-6 overall and 1-5 in conference play entering tonight's final regular season game at winless Mountain Pine (0-9, 0-6), are officially out of playoff contention. “Poyen covered their points in both of their wins so even if we win they have us on points by about three,” said Heidenreich.
Quitman took an early 6-0 lead when Mannon broke three tackles on his way to a 40-yard touchdown run. After linebacker Derek Robinson recovered a fumble, the Bulldogs struck again when Mannon rumbled into the end zone from five yards out. Quarterback Walker Johnson connected with receiver Hunter Bridges for two more points on the conversion, giving the Bulldogs a 14-0 lead with 6:13 left in the first quarter.
Following a 50-yard touchdown run by Hall, Quitman fired back when Mannon broke loose over right side around a devastating block by Bridges, who took out two defenders, which freed up Mannon for a 39-yard touchdown run.
Moments later Quitman pushed its lead to 28-7 as Ian Johnson recovered an onside kick, which led to a 38-yard touchdown pass from Walker Johnson to Hunter Martin.
The Lions (5-4, 3-3) responded with a pair of touchdown runs by Hall (46, 4), pulling within a touchdown, trailing 28-21 with 6:05 remaining in the first half.
Quitman answered quickly as Johnson hooked up with Hunter Martin over the middle, where two would be tacklers collided as Martin sprinted to the end zone for a 62-yard touchdown. Walker Johnson, who made 3-of-4 extra point attempts in the first half, kicked the PAT for a 35-21 lead with 5:47 left until halftime.
But, Mt. Ida fired back with two more touchdown runs by Hall. And Landon Warfield, who finished 5-for-5 in the first half on extra-point attempts, kicked two more PATs as the Lions tied the score at 35-all at halftime.
Page 2 of 2 - Mt. Ida took control in the second half by scoring 35 consecutive points, building a commanding 70-35 lead when Hall broke loose for his sixth touchdown, this time from 35 yards out.
Quitman battled to the end as Johnson hit receiver Chase Stewart four times for a total of 40 yards as the Bulldogs marched deep into Mt. Ida territory. On third and goal, Johnson found Stewart again for a 10-yard touchdown with 6:04 to play in the game.
The Bulldogs tacked on another late score when Johnson hooked up with Ellis for a 45-yard touchdown and Johnson passed to Stewart for two more points on the conversion, setting the final at 70-41.
Johnson finished 20-of-34 for 301 yards and four touchdowns with one interception. Mannon carried 18 times for 164 yards and three touchdowns and Hunter Martin led the Bulldogs' receiving corps with four catches for 100 yards and two scores. Stewart added 10 receptions for 97 yards and a touchdown.
Defensively, Robinson led Quitman with 13 tackles, defensive end Justin Kent collected 10 stops and linebacker Hadley Martin contributed nine tackles.
(Editor's note: Stats and information courtesy of Quitman Football Foundation's Dan Lichoff.)