Munford didn’t officially clinch its third straight Region 8-5A title with Friday night’s league win vs. Southwind. But, for all intents and purposes, Munford has now won three straight region titles.
After an impressive 31-20 win in Memphis against the Jaguars, who entered the game tied with Munford atop the region standings, the team got together and shouted, “Three-peat!”
“I thought we performed pretty good,” said Munford senior linebacker Tristan Bohannon, who had eight tackles, a sack and fumble recovery. “The defensive line did pretty good, so did the offense. On defense, we tried to do what we could to stop them. In the end we kind of let up, but we did it, three-time region champs.”
All Munford (8-0 overall, 4-0 region), which is off this Friday, needs to do to make its region title official is a get a home win Oct. 21 vs. Kingsbury, which is winless in region play.
Friday’s game at Southwind was billed as a matchup between two of the best teams in the Shelby-Metro area and it lived up to its billing in front of a near full house.
Southwind (6-2, 3-1) made things very interesting on the third play of the third quarter. Munford quarterback Jordan Bell lost a rare fumble and Dylan Leggins returned it 36 yards for a Southwind touchdown that trimmed Munford’s lead to 17-14.
That’s when Munford’s running game and defense took control of the game.
Six straight Braxton Sharp runs moved Munford to the Southwind four-yard line. Three plays later a one-yard TD run by Sharp and a Braxton Brown extra point pushed Munford’s lead to 24-14 with 6:52 left in the third quarter.
Ethan Kehayias stopped a promising Southwind drive at the Munford 11 with an interception and Bohannon recovered a fumble on Southwind’s next drive late in the third quarter.
Midway through the fourth, with Southwind on the move again, Isaiah Cobbs intercepted another Southwind pass and returned it 26 yards to the Jaguars’ 25. Two plays later, Bell hit Cobbs on a 12-yard touchdown pass for a 31-14 lead that proved insurmountable.
Southwind scored its third touchdown in the final seconds with the outcome already determined.
Kelvin Perkins, Southwinds’ freshman quarterback, completed 13 of 31 passes for 138 yards and two touchdowns and Darron Taylor ran for 97 yards on nine carries, but it was not nearly enough.
Sharp had a monster game with 148 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries, including a 28-yard TD run on Munford’s first possession.
On the final play of the first quarter, Bell broke a 94-yard touchdown run down the sideline that put his team ahead 14-7. Bell completed 5 of 9 passes for 78 yards and ran nine times for 110 yards.
Cobbs finished with four catches for 66 yards. Jaelon Dowell and Clay Bridges combined for 16 tackles.
Heading into the game, Munford head coach Slade Calhoun knew Southwind had some playmakers that could make a difference.
“They’ve got some really good players; we did a good job, though,” Calhoun said. “I can’t believe we turned it over twice, once for a touchdown. I just couldn’t believe it because we’ve done a fantastic job all year of taking care of the football.”
He also praised his defensive unit.
“The defense stood tall. I was proud of those guys. We gave up one long pass there early, but that’s fine. We’re aggressive and that’s the way we like to play. They’ve got some great receivers.”
Bell thought his team overcame some mistakes to get a key win.
“We knew it wasn’t going to be an easy game,” Bell said. “We came out and fought the best we could and gave it 100 percent. I mean, that’s all that really matters, especially when you’re fighting for a championship … They were good competition for us to see where we stand. They fought hard. They wanted it as much as we wanted it, but at the end of the day, there can only be one winner.”