McGee, Easterling lead Magee Trojans over Lawrence Co.

Published 5:00 am Monday, September 19, 2005

MAGEE — The Magee Trojans rode the dynamic duo of TaiwanEasterling and Michael McGee to a 28-14 win over Lawrence County inhigh school football action Friday night. Easterling, a juniorquarterback, rushed for 2 touchdowns, and McGee, a senior, rushedfor 1 touchdown and intercepted 2 Lawrence County passes.

With the win, Magee, coached by Jimmy Mangum, improved to 2-0 onthe season. Lawrence County, under second-year coach Mike Davis,fell to 0-2.

Lawrence County knotted the game at 14-14 in the third quarter,on a 1-yard sneak by quarterback Will Harris and a 2-pointconversion run by Marcus Wallace. Magee won the fourth-quarterbattle, with Easterling scoring 2 late touchdowns for the win.

“Their skill people, led by Easterling and McGee, are justoutstanding,” said coach Mike Davis. “Our defense gave it a greateffort, but those guys are going to make some plays. Obviously, Iwish we’d won the game, but I thought our kids improvedconsiderably from our first game at West Jones.”

For the second straight game, the LCHS defense was led bysophomore linebackers Dontray Collins and Julius Magee.Unofficially, Collins led the Cougars with a total of 12 tackles.Magee was in on 11 stops. Magee also had a fumble recovery.

Meanwhile, the Lawrence County offense continued to sputter.Sophomore Marcus Wallace rushed for 46 yards on 9 carries, but theCougar ground game failed to produce consistently. Harris completed8 of 18 passes, but for limited yardage. The Trojans intercepted 3Cougar throws.

“Obviously, we haven’t been very productive,” said long-timeLawrence County offensive line coach Craig Davis. “Any blame forthat goes to me, but you also have to give some credit to WestJones and Magee. Playing those two teams, both on the road, tostart the season, hasn’t been a picnic. It’ll get better.”

Lawrence County took advantage of a Magee blunder to take anearly lead. An errant punt snap set the Cougars up with afirst-and-goal at the Trojan 7-yard line. Senior Danny Powellscored on the very next play, but the Cougar extra point attemptwas foiled by a bad snap.

Magee responded with 48-yard, 9-play drive that culminated withthe first of Easterling’s 3 touchdowns. Hayden Schaub kicked thefirst of his 4 extra points to give the Trojans a 7-6 lead.

On the last play of the first quarter, Michael McGee intercepteda Harris pass, returning it to the Lawrence County 18. Four playslater, Easterling’s 1-yard plunge gave Magee a 14-6 lead.

Three near misses late in the second quarter may have helped toseal the Cougars’ fate on this night. Twice, Lawrence County barelyfailed to connect on deep passes near the Trojan goal line. Also,the Cougar defense missed a golden opportunity to intercept anEasterling pass that would easily have been returned for atouchdown.

“We were close,” said Cougar head coach Mike Davis, “but closedoesn’t get you any points. We’ve got to keep working at it andmake some of those big plays, and we’ll have a shot to win somegames.”

Early in the third quarter, Lawrence County’s Tavalas Peytonstripped McGee of the football and returned it all the way to theTrojan 3-yard line. Three straight quarterback sneaks produced aCougar touchdown, and Wallace tied the game with his 2-pointrun.

Lawrence County’s Travis Baker preserved the 14-14 tie, blockingSchaub’s 25-yard field goal attempt late in the third quarter.Early in the fourth, however, the Trojans blocked a Cougar punt,setting up the Trojans’ go-ahead score.

Down 21-14, LCHS put together its best drive of the night, butfumbled the ball away at the Trojan 29-yard line. Magee drove backdown the field to score the insurance touchdown with 1 minute toplay.