Booneville, Miss. – Cameron Montgomery may not know the entire playbook just yet, but his inaugural game at running back for the Northeast Mississippi Community College football program was one he will always remember.
Montgomery recorded his first-ever rushing touchdown during the Tigers' 35-6 triumph over Coahoma Community College that capped a perfect homecoming week in the City of Hospitality.
The Shannon High School graduate has starred at wide receiver his entire life, but was moved into the backfield for the first time during his entire gridiron career during practices earlier this week.
Montgomery made things look easy when he dashed around the left side of the offensive line and found nothing but green grass ahead of him on a six-yard touchdown in the third that gave Northeast its winning margin.
"Anything to help the team I'm willing to do," said Montgomery. "It felt great to get in the end zone. It was kind of overwhelming. My quarterback put me in the right position, my line did their job and I just went and finished."
The Tigers took advantage of stellar field position on three consecutive possessions in the opening quarter to build a quick lead. The average starting location for Northeast during that period was the Coahoma 25-yard line.
Toreano Miner set the Tigers (4-1, 1-1) up nicely on their initial scoring drive with a career-long punt return of 26 yards that plunged them deep into enemy territory at the 21-yard stripe.
The visiting Tigers managed to get Northeast into a fourth down situation. But L.J. Hawkins made a highlight reel catch in the back corner of the end zone on a 14-yard strike from Mason Cunningham to lift the Tigers ahead 7-0.
Northeast accounted for the first of five takeaways moments later when Brandon Tillman caused a fumble that was grabbed by Peyton McMahon. It was the third fumble recovery in the last two contests for McMahon.
Cunningham scampered across the goal line four plays later on a seven-yard quarterback keeper to extend the Tigers' advantage to 14-0 with 6:53 remaining in the first.
Another sneak by Cunningham from two yards out plus Austin Holloway's third of five true point after attempts concluded a stretch by the Tigers in which they tallied 21 points in only three minutes and 10 seconds.
Northeast put together its longest possession of the evening in the second. The Tigers went the length of the field in just eight plays after being pinned by a punt at their own two-yard line.
Bailey Walker punctuated the drive with a six-yard forward toss to PaDarius Martin that made score 28-0 in favor of Northeast at the intermission. It was the first touchdown pass for Walker during his sophomore campaign.
Coahoma (0-5, 0-2) put its only points onto the scoreboard midway through the third period when backup signal caller Brady Burse found Devin Griffin for a 17-yard connection.
The Tigers held their guest scoreless during the initial two quarters of the matchup. It was the first time for Northeast to shutout an opponent in a half since August 28, 2014 at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College.
The six points posted by the invading Tigers were the lowest by any Northeast adversary since Mississippi Delta Community College mustered only three on October 25, 2012.
The five turnovers forced by the Tigers were the most since accumulating the same amount against Coahoma on September 27, 2014. Keawvis Cummings and Tillman had interceptions while Brenden Williams also picked up a fumble.
"Really and truly, defensively we played extremely well and on special teams we played as good as we have in a long time," said Northeast head coach Greg Davis. "Overall, I'm proud of the effort. We made some big plays at times and got some things going. We're really pleased with the way we are playing right now."
Williams guided a Northeast defense that notched season-highs of 11 tackles for loss and eight sacks. He compiled a game-best nine takedowns to go with his inaugural takeaway with the Tigers.
"We really brought the team together because they feed off of us," Williams said. "We just did it like we do in practice. This was a great team win. I think we did real well."
Cunningham became the fastest Northeast athlete to surpass the 1,000-yard mark in passing during the last decade. He completed 19 of his 32 attempts for 263 yards and one touchdown versus Coahoma.
Hawkins continues to assemble phenomenal numbers to pace Northeast's receivers. He set a new career-high with 166 yards on just eight catches that included sensational receptions of 67 and 41 yards.
"It just comes from constant repetition in practice," said Hawkins. "I've grown up as an athlete and done what it takes to get the results I want. It's just a blessing to see all the hard work paying off."
Kenzie Phillips led all rushers in the game with 71 yards on 14 carries. The Tigers amassed over 400 yards of total offense for the third time in five outings this year and had 20 first downs.
Northeast remains at home next week to welcome Itawamba Community College (3-2, 0-2). Kickoff for the 57th edition of this rivalry is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. at Tiger Stadium.