Lawrence Co. gets first win
MONTICELLO – The Lawrence County Cougars defeated the West JonesMustangs 23-2 in high school football action Friday night. Thehome-standing Cougars used a clock-grinding ground game and aball-hawking, opportunistic defense to give LCHS coach TrentHammond his first head coaching victory.
With the win, Hammond’s Cougars improved to 1-1 n the youngseason, while West Jones fell to 0-2. Hammond had plenty of reasonsto be pleased.
“We had a very good night,” Hammond understated. “Our defenseplayed a tremendous game, and our offense was able to maintain ballpossession for most of the night. West Jones has a reputation forphysically beating up on people, but I don’t think that happenedtonight. Our guys gave it a good fight.”
Hammond’s ball-control offense ran a whopping 69 plays, comparedto 37 for West Jones and outgained the Mustangs 301-135 in totaloffense. The Cougars had the ball for 31:30 of the 48-minutegame.
Along with being a milestone for Hammond, Lawrence County’s winalso avenged a 19-18 loss to West Jones on the same field lastfall. That Mustang victory snapped a Lawrence County home-winningstreak that was almost two years long. Many Mustang startersreturned from that 2001 team.
The Cougars didn’t take long to get things started on thisnight. After stuffing West Jones on the game’s opening possession,LCHS needed just four plays to take a 7-0 lead. That came onJohnathan Eley’s 28-yard touchdown run, and Eley’s extra-pointkick.
Just moments after that, Cougar outside linebacker MathewAultman trapped West Jones’s Justin Young for an 18-yard loss and asafety to make it a 9-0 game. Not only did the safety net theCougars two points, it also set LCHS up in great field positionfollowing the ensuing free kick.
Charles Barnes’s 35-yard return placed the ball at the Mustang35. From there, it took Lawrence County six plays to light up itshandsome new scoreboard. Quarterback Jason Snell scored from sevenyards out, and Eley’s kick made it a 16-0 game.
West Jones wasn’t ready to give up the fight just yet. Early inthe second quarter, after the Mustang defense had stuffed theCougars deep in their own end, a Mustang defender broke through toblock Marlon Stanfield’s punt. Luckily for the Cougars, the ballbounced out of the rear of the end zone for a safety. LawrenceCounty led 16-2 at the half.
The third quarter featured no scoring, but the grind-it-outCougar offense maintained ball possession for a phenomenal 11minutes. Lawrence County ran 23 offensive plays in the period whileWest Jones ran just two. Chantillus Parkman had his second fumblerecovery of the night to thwart the Mustang’s only possession.
Early in the fourth quarter, Carl “Lil’ Jon” Eley’s secondinterception in as many weeks set Lawrence County up at the WestJones 14. Four plays later, Johnathan Eley crashed in from one-yardout to seal the game.
For the second straight week, the Cougars’ offensive numbers,which were wholly dominated by Eley last season, were fairly-wellbalanced. Eley (12-84), Wayne Hardy (12-80), Snell (10-55) andCharles Barnes (16-43) all had productive rushing night. Hardy hada long touchdown run called back by a holding penalty in the thirdquarter.
Tackle totals were not available for the Cougar defense, but forthe second straight week, the slanting, attacking Cougars got awhopping six takeaways. Parkman was the lead in that department.Terry Bridges had a fumble recovery for the second straight week,and O’Donald Hudson had a late pass interception. Insidelinebackers Wayne Hardy and Josh Wilson were the tackleleaders.
Next up for Lawrence County is defending state 3A championMagee, which has stepped up into the 4A ranks this fall. Mageedefeated LCHS 34-25 last season. The game will be played atLCHS.
Time of Possession
0 – 2
7 – 23
Lawrence Co., J. Eley 28 run (Eley kick).
Lawrence County, Safety
Lawrence County, Snell 7 run (Eley kick).
West Jones, Safety.
Lawrence Co., Eley 1 run (Eley kick).
RUSHING: Lawrence Co., Eley 17-84, Hardy 12-80, Snell10-55, Barnes 16-43.
PASSING: Lawrence Co., Snell 2-7-0, 12. Stanfield 1-1-0,19.
RECEIVING: Lawrence Co., Eley 1-19, Barnes1-12.