Lawrence County Cougars take McComb 14-7

Published 5:00 am Monday, September 27, 2004

McCOMB — The Lawrence County Cougars defeated the McComb Tigers14-7 in Division 6-4A football action Friday night at C.C. MooreStadium. Lawrence County built a 14-0 halftime lead, then held offa McComb comeback.

With the win, Lawrence County, coached by Mike Davis, improvedto 3-1 on the season, and 1-0 in Region 6-4A play. Coach TedMilton’s McComb Tigers fell to 0-4 overall, and 0-1 in theregion.

“This was a very good win,” Davis said, “and certainly the bestgame we’ve played so far. Don’t be deceived by McComb’s record.They’re a good, hard-nosed team. A lot of teams would’ve been 0-3against the teams they had played.”

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The win was Lawrence County’s fifth in its last 7 meetings withMcComb. However, it was only the Cougars’ second win in 9 games atMcComb.

“Even though we haven’t had much success here,” Davis said,”this is my favorite place to play a road game. It’s a fine settingfor high school football. Obviously, it’s even more fun when youcan walk out of here with a W.”

For a while, it looked as though Lawrence County might get aneasy win. The Cougars had their way in forging a 14-0 halftimelead. Early in the third quarter, LCHS appeared primed to put thegame away. On second and 7 from the Tiger 14, the Cougars fumbled ahandoff exchange in the backfield. McComb recovered, and apotential blowout quickly became a nail-biter.

The game was almost totally a ground affair. McComb gained 189yards in total offense, 184 of it via the rush. All 233 of theCougars’ yards came on the ground.

Chris Jefferson led Lawrence County with 103 yards on 17attempts. Taebyus Smith also had a productive night, with 86 yardson 13 carries. McComb spread the carries around, with DemorseStewart (11-51), Carlos Brister (5-47), Markie Faust (9-44), andquarterback Dominic Thompson (13-41) sharing the load.

After an exchange of punts to start the game, Lawrence Countyput together an excellent drive to take the lead. With Jeffersonand Smith carrying most of the load, the Cougars went 87 yards in13 plays, with Tavalas Peyton scoring on a one-yard quarterbacksneak.

McComb’s best scoring chance of the first half came early in thesecond quarter. The Tigers drove deep into LCHS territory, thankslargely to a 23-yard run by quarterback Dominic Thompson. Onfourth-and-4 at the Cougar 19-yard line, Thompson was sacked byLawrence County’s Kendrick Moore.

Late in the half, after a McComb punt, Lawrence County took overat its own 45. The Cougars drove 55 yards in seven plays, scoringwith 26 seconds left in the half. Sophomore Will Harris scored on a5-yard run. Travis Stalans kicked his second PAT. A 32-yard jauntby Taebyus Smith was the big play in the drive. LCHS led 14-0 atthe half.

A strong stand by the Lawrence County defense and a poor puntgave the Cougars a golden opportunity to put the game away early inthe third quarter. But the botched handoff in the backfield keptMcComb alive, and the Tiger offense took advantage.

McComb drove 83 yards in 12 plays to get back into the game.Brister, Faust, and Stewart did the bulk of the work in the drive,with Stewart plunging in on a 2-yard run. Dylan Boyd’s kick made ita 14-7 game.

With three minutes left in the game, another Lawrence Countyfumble in the backfield gave McComb one last chance. The Tigerstook over at the LCHS 43, but the Cougar defense, which has allowedjust 7 points in its last 3 games, stuffed the Tigers. LinebackerDanny Powell sacked Thompson on the Tigers’ final offensiveplay.

Powell topped the Cougar tackle chart with a total of 9 stops.Tackle Justin Lee was in on 8 tackles. Linebackers John Thompsonand Irvin Pittman were defensive standouts for McComb.

“We played better tonight,” Davis said, “and I’m obviously proudwe won, but we’re still shooting ourselves in the foot. We lost theturnover battle 3-0 tonight, and that could easily have cost us thegame. We’ve still got plenty of things to improve on.”