The Bulldogs came up one play short of a win, falling 14-10 to Itawamba Agricultural High School on a last minute pass play.
Heading into week three of the season, New Albany sits at 0-2 on the season, though Head Coach Ron Price saw a marked improvement in his team between their first game and Friday’s contest.
“I can walk of the field tonight being disappointed that we lost, but I’m very proud that our team took a step in the right direction in being a competitive football team and competing at the 4A level,” Price said.
Eathan Rainey put the first points on the board for New Albany with a field goal in the final minutes of the first half, closing the 7-0 gap by Itawamba to 7-3.
Devin Wilson provided the offensive spark during the third quarter, charging down field to place the Bulldogs inside the Indians redzone. Two plays later, Bryce Collins scored his first rushing touchdown as a starting quarterback and led his team to a 10-7 advantage.
A 44-yard pass by the Indians in the fourth quarter, and an up the middle rush on the following play, gave Itawamba the lead at 14-10. The Bulldogs last drive, started with 32 seconds on the clock, ended suddenly with a fumbled catch on a pass being recovered by the Indians.
“The thing that makes me proud tonight is that our kids competed for 48 minutes…I told them on Sunday that for us to be competitive we’ve got to compete on every single play. This ballgame tonight came down to the last play of the game – and that’s all I can ask of my kids, to play hard and put ourselves in position to win. And they did that tonight,” Price said.
Turnovers and penalties cost the Bulldogs valuable yards and ended multiple drives prematurely, though NAHS did finish the game with 5 sacks on defense.
The team was held to 95 rushing yards during the game, en route to 142 all purpose yards.
Quarterback Bryce Collins completed 7 of 14 pass attempts, good for 47 yards.
The Bulldogs will return to Kitchens Field on Friday, playing host to the Pontotoc Warriors.