South Pike Eagles hatch win over Lawrence County
MAGNOLIA – The South Pike Eagles defeated the Lawrence CountyHigh Cougars 14-6 in Region 6-4A football action Friday night onColee Field. The Eagles used a stubborn defense to slow downLawrence County’s ball-control ground attack and found just enoughoffense to claim the victory.
With the win, South Pike improved to 4-1 overall and 1-0 inregion play. Lawrence County fell to 4-1 and 1-1. Whiledisappointed with the loss, first-year Lawrence County head coachTrent Hammond had nothing but praise for his team.
“Our kids played hard,” Hammond said. “South Pike is very good,especially defensively. But our kids gave it a great fight for thewhole four quarters and gave themselves a chance.”
The loss closed out the first half of the Cougars’ season, afive-game stretch that included two reigning state champions andthe two preseason co-favorites in Division 6-4A.
“Our kids have been through five tough wars in five weeks,”Hammond said. “I couldn’t ask for anything more from them.Obviously, we’d love to have won all five of them but I’m just soproud of the way they’ve played and the effort they’ve given.They’ve given themselves a chance to have a winning season and topossibly grab a playoff spot.”
Defense was the name of the game for South Pike. Takingadvantage of Lawrence County’s limited passing game in the firstfour weeks, the Eagles stacked the box with as many as nine playersand often had the entire defensive unit within a few yards of theline of scrimmage. As a result, the normally potent LCHS rushingattack was held to a modest 172 rushing yards. The Cougars didcomplete two passes for 65 yards, their highest yardage total ofthe year but LCHS was able to find the end zone just once.
“We weren’t surprised by the scheme,” said long-time LCHSoffensive line coach Craig Davis. “You could sort of see thatcoming. But they coupled the good scheme with great personnel.They’re just so fast on defense. It’s like they’ve got 15 outthere. They’re very good on defense. Give them credit.”
The first six possession of the game all ended in punts as theLCHS defense played well in its own right. Early in the secondquarter, Lawrence County defensive lineman Chantillus Parkmanhalted a South Pike threat by recovering a fumble at the LCHS10-yard line. At that point, the Cougars started one of their bestdrives of the night.
In eight plays, they went from their own 10 to the South Pike14, with the key plays being a 21-yard run by Wayne Hardy, and a32-yard Jason Snell-to-Charles Barnes pass play, the Cougars’longest of the year. The drive ended on a pass interception in theend zone.
South Pike responded with a touchdown drive of its own,bolstered by two trick plays, one of which left the LCHS staff lessthan amused. On fourth and seven near midfield, with just over aminute to play in the first half, South Pike executed a fake puntwith a pass that netted 19 yards and a first down.
“We practice punt team and punt defense literally every day,”Davis said. “So, when in such an obvious fake situation, a receiverbreaks wide open, you have to wonder what happened. We have everyeligible receiver accounted for on punt defense.
“Well, as it turns out, the pass was thrown to the right guard.It’s an illegal play that South Pike ran, assuming that theofficials wouldn’t catch it. South Pike has a great team and theymay well have whipped us anyway but it’s a darn shame knowing thatone of the key plays of the game was a pass to the rightguard.”
On the very next play, South Pike connected on a double passdown to the LCHS one-yard line. On the next play, quarterbackJonathan Brumfield scored to make it 6-0. South Pike then executeda fake extra-point kick to take an 8-0 halftime lead.
The Cougar offense came to life at the start of the second half.In six running plays, LCHS went 68 yards. Hardy carried four timesfor 47 yards on the drive, including the final nine yards for atouchdown. A two-point attempt to tie the game was stopped shortand South Pike held an 8-6 lead.
South Pike responded immediately. Ripping off consecutive runsof 18, 13 and 16 yards, the Eagles drove 67 yards, scoring on asix-yard run by Quentrelle Green. Green had a big night as herushed for 118 yards on 17 carries.
The extra-point was missed but South Pike had a 14-0 lead andthe mighty Eagle defense made that lead stand up.
Lawrence County had its chances. Late in the fourth quarter,Charles Brown broke through to block an Eagle punt. LCHS got theball on the 13-yard line but on fourth-and-two at the five,quarterback Snell was stopped inches short on an option play.
Late in the fourth, the Cougars got one last chance whenChantillus Parkman recovered his second fumble of the night. With aminute and a half left to play play, South Pike picked off anotherpass in the end zone.
“We had our chances,” Hammond said, “but South Pike’s defensecame up big. They made the plays defensively and we weren’t able tomake them offensively. It was a great effort, though.”
South Pike out gained the Cougars 359-237 in total offense andcontrolled the ball for four minutes longer than the Cougars. LCHShad controlled the football for two-thirds of the game in three ofthe Cougars’ first four games.
Lawrence County will attempt to get back on the winning trackFriday night at Port Gibson. South Pike will take on Terry.
First Downs 10 14
Rushes-Yards 33-172 40-247
Passing Yards 65 112
Total Yards 237 359
Passes 2-9-2 4-8-0
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 2-2
Penalties-Yards 5-65 8-70
Punts-Average 5-27 5-26
Time of Possession 21:47 26:13
Lawrence Co. 0 0 6 0 – 6
South Pike 0 8 6 0 -14
SP – Brumfield 1 run (Taylor pass fromVarnado)
LC – Hardy 9 run (run failed)
SP – Green run (kick failed)
RUSHING: LC, Hardy 12-81, Wallace 5-33, Snell 3-22,Barnes 9-22, Eley 6-14. SP, Green 17-118, Lowery 13-86, Burton4-43.
PASSING: LC, Snell 2-9-2, 65. SP, Brumfield 3-7-0,73.
RECEIVING: LC, Barnes 1-37, Stanfield 1-28.