By Richard Sharp
QUITMAN-The Quitman Bulldogs rewrote the history books not once, but twice this past Friday night after hosting a playoff game for the first time, proving that was just not enough and adding to that feat by claiming the program’s first state playoff victory with a 54-30 victory over the visiting Murfreesboro Rattlers.
In this battle between three-seeds, the hosts would strike early and often on their way to a 28-0 scoring run, beginning with a short quarterback keep run from junior William Litton for a touchdown, capping off the first session of play with another run from Litton that cleared the plain for six more points, getting an extra point from senior kicker Erin Mathes to go for a 13-0 advantage.
Following a turnover on downs for Murfreesboro, Litton added to his statline with yet another touchdown run from 10 yards out, clipping on a fourth TD on a QB sneak play that pushed the lead to 27-0 following another successful extra point from Mathes.
The Rattlers broke their scoring drought with 7:33 left in the first half as running back Harvey Cash weaved his way in for a touchdown from the right side, tacking on a two-point conversion courtesy of senior Jace Kuykendall.
Quitman would carry more momentum into the halftime intermission following another touchdown run from Litton and a 24-yard connection from Litton to Mathes for another touchdown, being able to stay inbounds just enough to add to the scoreboard, which would read 41-8 after two quarters of action in the books.
Murfreesboro provided the first scoring drive of the second half after Cash threaded the needle to junior Tyler Nichols for 48 yards and the touchdown, getting a two-pointer to go to cut it to 41-16. Litton would come through with touchdown number seven after spinning and weaving his way in on the ensuing drive as Quitman would bring the mercy rule into effect on a run to the house for Trevor Hensley to swell the lead to 54-16.
The Rattlers would add on two more touchdowns on to their side, but it proved too little, too late as the Bulldogs would coast the rest of the way to their first state triumph in the history of the program.
Litton, who would rush 28 times for 229 yards and complete 11 of 15 passes for 70 yards, finished the contest with a school-record seven total touchdowns, while Mathes hauled in three passes for 38 yards and a touchdown, getting help from Hensley’s 48 rushing yards and touchdown.
Senior Jett Silor rang up 16 tackles (five for loss, one sack) for the gritty Bulldog defense, also getting 14 from the QB-1 in Litton. Senior Landon Luman picked off on pass and returned for 10 yards to help the cause. Quitman turned in 404 yards of total offense on 50 plays with 12 first downs, compared Murfreesboro’s 257 yards on 53 plays and 17 first downs.
The Bulldogs (6-5) made the trip northeast to Lepanto to take on a very talented East Poinsett County Warrior team in the second round. The Warriors (8-3) were granted a bye after Johnson County Westside bowed out of the playoffs due to COVID-19. Stay tuned for full story in next week’s edition.