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Lawrence Co. Cougars shut out Crystal Springs

MONTICELLO – The Lawrence County Cougars defeated CrystalSprings 47-0 in Division 6-4A football action Friday night. TheCougars got 225 yards and four touchdowns out of sophomore fullbackJohn Eley and a hard-hitting, shutout effort from their defense, tonotch the easy win.

With the win, Lawrence County improved to 6-3 overall and 3-1 inDivision 6-4A play. The victory sets the stage for a playoff-likeshowdown at Brookhaven Friday night. That game will be for secondplace in the division and a trip to the state 4A playoffs.

Lawrence County, the reigning Mississippi 4A state champion, isseeking a third straight playoff berth. McComb, a 19-7 winner overSouth Pike on Friday, has already clinched the divisionchampionship and a playoff bid.

Crystal Springs, under the direction of second-year head coachWill Blair, slipped to 2-8 with the loss and remained winless (0-5)in the division.

Lawrence County head coach Danny Adams was pleased with the winand already looking forward to going to Brookhaven.

“It was a good win,” Adams said. “I was very pleased with theplay of the defense, getting the shutout and the offense did okay.We’re happy to still be in the hunt with one game to go, but we’llhave to play our very best at Brookhaven to have a chance.”

The Cougars had plenty of chances to punish the visiting CrystalSprings Tigers and LCHS took advantage of most of those chances. Ittook just three plays from scrimmage for Lawrence County to tallyits first score. It came on a one-yard John Eley plunge that wasset up by Jamar Sibley’s 43-yard scamper around left end. Eleymissed the PAT kick but the Cougars led 6-0.

After the Lawrence County defense forced a Tiger punt, LCHSdrove 59 yards in eight plays to add to its lead. Eley and Sibleyshared the load on the drive with Eley eventually scoring on aseven-yard run. A two-point attempt failed but the Cougars now led12-0.

“Bad” soon got worse for Crystal Springs. After another Tigerpunt, Lawrence County went 56 yards in just four plays to increaseits lead. On consecutive plays, Sibley ripped off 17 yards. Eleythen went 19. To cap it off, Charles “Buck”Barnes took an optionpitch 17 yards for a touchdown. Eley ran for two points to make it20-0, and the first quarter still had a minute to go.

Midway through the second quarter, LCHS added to its lead whenquarterback Jerry Smith tossed a 12-yard touchdown pass to tightend Justin “Buck” Wilson. That score was set up by a 26-yard Eleyrun on the previous play. Eley’s kick made it 27-0.

Late in the half, Cougar cornerback Jason Snell intercepted aCrystal Springs pass and returned it to the Tigers’ 22-yard line.Four plays later, Eley banged across from two yards out to increaseLawrence County’s lead to 33-0.

The Cougar offense struggled a bit in the third quarter, unableto take advantage of a blocked punt by LCHS defensive tackleAnthony Evans. Still, the LCHS defense held Crystal Springs at bay,insuring a Lawrence County victory.

Along with holding Crystal Springs to a mere 122 yards of totaloffense, the Cougar defense had four takeaways. Charlie Welch andEskria Rhodes had fumble recoveries, while Snell and “Prentiss”Buckley had pass interceptions.

The Cougar offense did awaken to produce two fourth-quarterscores. First, Eley broke loose for 53 yards and a touchdown on adraw play. that capped another banner night for the juniorfullback. His 225-yard, four-touchdown effort gave Eley a total of1,251 rushing yards and 19 touchdowns on the season.

In the game’s waning moments, defensive end-turned-fullbackMathew Aultman ran 42 yards for a score to make it a 47-0final.

Adams was also pleased to note that the victory was the 30thvarsity football win for this year’s senior class; the class thatbegan with him as sophomores in Adams’ first season at the school.Lawrence County has gone 30-5 in those three seasons.

@Bbstandings:STATISTICS

CS LC

First Downs 9 19

Rushes-Yards 29-79 41-414

Passing Yards 20 43

Total Yards 122 434

Passes 7-18-2 3-6-0

Fumbles-Lost 2-2 3-3

Punts-Average 6-15 1-21

Penalties-Yards 3-25 5-40

Time of Possession 20:30 27:30

Crystal Springs 0 0 0 0 – 0

Lawrence Co. 20 13 0 14 – 47

FIRST QUARTER

LC – Eley 1 run (kick failed)

LC – Eley 7 run (run failed)

LC – Barnes 15 run (Eley run)

SECOND QUARTER

LC – Wilson 12 pass from Smith (Eley kick)

LC – Eley 2 run (run failed)

FOURTH QUARTER

LC – Eley 52 run (Eley kick)

LC – Aultman 42 run (Eley kick)

INDIVIDUAL LEADERS

RUSHING:LC, Eley 20-225, 4 TD, Sibley 11-104, Smith6-19, Barnes 1-17, Eley 1-2.

PASSING: LC, Smith 3-6-0, 20.

RECEIVING: LC, Sibley 2-8, Wilson 1-12.