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Terry turns back Lawrence Co.

MONTICELLO-The Terry Bulldogs defeated the Lawrence CountyCougars 30-23 in Region 6-4A high school football action Fridaynight, spoiling the LCHS homecoming celebration.

Terry was led by All-State running back Anthony Dixon, whorushed for 198 yards and 4 touchdowns.

After a defensive struggle in the first half, which ended withLawrence County leading, 7-3, Dixon took control in the secondhalf. He scored touchdowns on 4 of Terry’s 5 second halfpossessions, his 49-yarder putting the Bulldogs in front for good.Lawrence County had scored 16 points early in the fourth quarter tograb a 23-22 lead.

With the win, Bill French’s Bulldogs improved to 7-1 overall,and 4-1 in Region 6-4A play. Lawrence County, under second-yearcoach Mike Davis, fell to 3-4 overall, and 2-2 in the region.

“It’s a painful loss,” Davis said. “At the same time, I’m veryproud of our team. We were 15 points down at the start of thefourth quarter. To come back and have a shot at it took a lot ofheart. In the end, we just didn’t have an answer for their bigguy.”

After being held to a modest 42 yards on 10 carries in the firsthalf, Dixon erupted in the second half. His 31-yard touchdown rungave Terry a 10-7 lead with 8:14 left in the third quarter. AfterLawrence County drove deep into Bulldog territory but lost afumble, Dixon carried the load on a Terry drive that resulted inhis second score, a 13-yarder, with 3:42 left in the period.

Lawrence County fumbled again on the very next offensive play.Dixon quickly cashed in with another 13-yard run. All of a sudden,Terry, which trailed at halftime, held a commanding 22-7 lead.

Momentarily reeling from their misfortune, the Cougars quicklyrecovered. With quarterback Will Harris sidelined by a leg injury,Tavalas Peyton, who quarterbacked the Cougars for most of lastseason, took the helm. He led Lawrence County on an 11-play,66-yard drive that resulted in his 1-yard touchdown sneak. TheCougars elected to go for 2 points, and were successful in cuttingthe Bulldog lead to 7 points, at 22-15.

“That was a tough call,” said long-time LCHS assistant CraigDavis. “We were able to draw them off side. If they hadn’t jumpedoffside, we’d have kicked it and been down by 8. But we felt likewe could push the pile a yard and a half, and we did.”

On the ensuing possession, Lawrence County was able to stopTerry for the only time in the second half, stuffing Dixon on athird-down play. For the second time on the night, Terry’s puntsnap sailed over the head of punter/quarterback Charlie Shearer,setting LCHS up at the Terry 4-yard line. A similar miscue set upthe Cougars’ first score of the night, a 2-yard run by TaebyusSmith at the very end of the first half.

This time, Peyton scored on a 2-yard sneak, making it a 22-21game. Cougar coach Mike Davis elected to go for two points, and gotthem, as Peyton scored on a quarterback keeper around the leftside.

“The safe conservative thing would have been to kick it and tiethe game,” said assistant coach Craig Davis, “but, frankly, weliked our chances with the 2-point conversion better than we likedour chances in a 10-yard, overtime shootout. If we’d scored rightthere at the end of the game, we would have gone for 2 again.”

Down 23-22 with 7:24 left in the game, Terry again put the ballin Dixon’s hands, and again the star runner delivered. After a12-yard gain, Dixon went up the middle, breaking numerous tacklesalong the way, then sprinted down the left sideline on a 49-yardtouchdown run. He also converted the 2-point conversion, giving theBulldogs another 7-point lead.

Lawrence County tried to battle back. The Cougars ran 16 playsin the final 5:49 of the game, moving from their own 10 to theBulldog 27. On the last play of the game, however, Antwon Dixon,Anthony’s younger brother, intercepted a pass in the end zone.

Lawrence County countered Dixon’s big night with a productivenight from 2 senior backs. Smith rushed for 84 yards on 17 carries,and Danny Powell had 67 yards on 13 attempts.

“We had our chances,” Davis said. “Last week we didn’t bobblethe ball a single time at Columbia. If we’d played that clean of agame tonight, we’d have had a good shot. At the same time, theygave us some gifts, too, with those punt snaps.”

Friday was Homecoming night at Lawrence County as the Terry gamewas just the second home game of the season for the Cougars. Thisweek, LCHS will be on the road again, traveling to McComb for aregion game that could have playoff implications.