Wingfield jolts Lawrence Co.

Published 5:00 am Monday, October 25, 2004

MONTICELLO: The Wingfield Falcons defeated the Lawrence CountyCougars 14-6 in Region 6-4A football action Friday night.. Theupstart Falcons used a ball-control offense and a tenacious defenseto earn their first region win since joining 6-4A last season.

Wingfield got 128 rushing yards from senior tailback MarcusThames. With Thames and a corps of Falcon backs pounding thefootball right at the Lawrence County defense, the Falcons beat theCougars at what has traditionally been Lawrence County’s style ofplay. Wingfield controlled the football for almost 29 minutes inthe 48-minute game. With the Cougars desperately needing thefootball in the fourth quarter, the Falcons put together a 20-play,10-minute drive.

With the win, Coach Chuck Foley’s Falcons improved to 2-7 on theseason, and 1-4 in region play.

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With Terry left to play on their region schedule, the Falconsplaced themselves in contention for the region’s fourth and finalplayoff spot.

Lawrence County, coached by Mike Davis, fell to 5-4 overall, and2-3 in the region, with its second straight defeat. For Davis,whose team was riding high at 5-2 just 2 weeks ago, the game was asobering reminder of just how quickly a team’s fortunes can changein football.

“For starters, you have to give a great deal of credit to CoachFoley and Wingfield,” Davis said. “As coaches, we watched them onfilm and knew we were in for a dogfight tonight. At the same time,I don’t think we matched our opponent’s emotion for the secondstraight week, and that’s disappointing.”

For the second straight week, Lawrence County’s offense made ahurried dash down the field in the waning seconds of the game, inan attempt to tie the game. The Cougars got as far as the Wingfield24, but quarterback Tavalas Peyton, who sat out most of the gamewith a hobbled knee, was sacked on the last 2 plays of thegame.

The Cougar offense was further decimated by injuries to runningback Chris Jefferson and tight end Eric Parker, both seniors.Jefferson, hobbled for much of the season with a sprained ankle,saw extremely limited action Friday, and did not carry the footballa single time.

Parker, who missed all of his junior season with a knee injury,re-injured the same knee on the last play of the Terry game, and islikely out for the remainder of the season.

“Yes, we were mighty banged up in the skill positions,” saidlong-time LCHS assistant Craig Davis, “but that’s no excuse. That’sjust part of it. We were feeling pretty good about ourselves at5-2, but we really haven’t had to deal with any tough times.

“It’s easy when it’s going good, but you really find out aboutyourselves when the going gets tough. Frankly, we’ve shownourselves to be a team that hasn’t handled adversity very well atall. Now we get to go play the best 4A team in Mississippi. We’reabout to see what we’re made of.”

Lawrence County travels to Brookhaven this Friday. The Panthershave already clinched the 6-4A championship.

Wingfield took the opening kickoff and quickly drove 63 yards in9 plays, with Thames scoring on a 7-yard run. Thames also ran for 2points, giving the Falcons an early 8-0 lead.

Lawrence County responded with its best drive of the night,going 70 yards in 10 plays. Taebyus Smith, who led the Cougars with63 rushing yards, carried most of the load. Sophomore Will Harris,getting his first start at quarterback, scored on a 2-yardquarterback sneak to make it an 8-6 game as a 2-point attemptfailed.

Late in the first quarter, Cougar cornerback Stevie Carrintercepted an Antonio Myers pass and returned it 40 yards, to theWingfield 35. One play later, J.P. Lewis raced into the end zonefrom 15 yards out, but a holding penalty negated the apparentscore. On top of that, the Cougars were hit with an unsportsmanlikepenalty after the play, largely ending the scoring threat.

Early in the second quarter, the Cougars got as close as theWingfield 28-yard line, but the Falcon defense stiffened,eventually intercepting a Harris pass. Wingfield held on to its 8-6halftime lead.

The start of the second half proved disastrous, as the Cougarsreceived and lost a fumble at their own 40-yard line. The Falconscapitalized, driving for a touchdown in 6 plays. Justin Larryscored on a 9-yard run.

Lawrence County attempted to answer, picking up 4 first downs inan 11-play drive, but the Wingfield defense again stopped theCougars in Falcon territory.

Wingfield’s final possession started at its own 16-yard line, onthe opening play of the fourth quarter. The Falcons didn’t score,but drove the length of the field in 20 straight running plays. Notonly did the Falcons use more than 10 minutes of clock time, theyforced Lawrence County to use all of its timeouts in an attempt toget the football back.

The Cougars finally got the ball back with 1:47 left. Peytoncompleted 2 passes to Lewis, getting as far as the Wingfield 24,before the sacks ended the game.

Juniorend Brandon Williams and juniortackle Alrey Williams weredefensive standouts for Wingfield.