Lawrence Co. crushes Bulldogs

Published 5:00 am Monday, October 16, 2006

TERRY — You just never know in football. Terry entered Friday’sgame with Lawrence County with a perfect 7-0 record, and sitting inthe driver’s seat in the Region 6-4A race. The Bulldogs had beenone of the most-publicized teams in the Jackson metro area thisfall, with two of the most-hyped, highly-publicized players in theentire state.

Lawrence County, on the other hand, entered the contest in themidst of a competitive, though unspectacular season. The Cougarswere 4-3, and were considered an also-ran in theirhighly-competitive region. The game appeared to be a mismatch. Itwas.

Starting with the very first play from scrimmage, LawrenceCounty thoroughly dominated Terry, routing the Bulldogs 40-14before a stunned Terry crowd. The Cougars racked up a whopping 476yards of total offense, 80 of them coming on the first play of thegame. It was shocking-and an awful lot of fun for a large Cougarfollowing that made the trip up Highway 27.

“We played our best game of the season,” said LCHS coach MikeDavis. “We had no turnovers, very few penalties, and few glaringmistakes. It’s a credit to our kids, and to our assistant coaches.They all did a great job, not just tonight, but in the week leadingup to this game.”

When the subject is Terry, it’s all about the Dixon brothers.Older brother Anthony has moved on to Mississippi State, but seniorAntwon and junior Rashun have emerged as 2 of the top players inthe state. On this night, however, they were outshined, andoutplayed by a Cougar team led by a sophomore fullback, himselfattempting to emerge from the formidable shadows of 2 olderbrothers, and by a tight end best known for his baseballexploits.

Kendrick Hardy, the 10th-grade fullback, rushed for anincredible 236 yards, on 24 carries, and scored 3 touchdowns. Hardybolted for 80 yards on the first play of the game.

The tight end, senior Mackenzie Woods, an accomplished highschool third baseman, caught touchdown passes of 50 and 20 yards,from quarterback Ryan McCall. McCall and Woods very nearly hookedup for a third scoring toss, but Woods was ruled to be 1 step outof the rear of the east end zone on what would have been a 14-yardTD pass.

“Offensively, we thought we could have some success tonight,”Davis said, “but we couldn’t for-see the type of explosion we had.Obviously, our skill people had a great night, but Coach (Jesse)Anderson and his line made all of that possible. The fact that wehad no turnovers and very few penalties was big for us.”

The LCHS defense also had a big night. All season, Terry hadthrived on the passing of quarterback Charlie Shearer, and thereceiving of Antwon and Rashun Dixon. On Friday, the Cougar passdefense limited Shearer to 10 completions in 23 attempts, for amodest 146 yards. Antwon was a non-factor, rushing 4 times for 6yards, and catching 3 passes for 43 yards. He fumbled after thethird catch, the only turnover of the night.

Rashun Dixon had 5 catches for 88 yards, including a touchdownreception, but his longest reception, a 34-yarder, came in thefinal minute of the game-long after the chicken had flown theproverbial coop.

“I can’t say enough about our defense, and our defensivecoaches,” Coach Davis said. “They were able to totally stop Terry’srunning game and, at the same time, contain one of the mostaccomplished passing combinations in the state. They’re going tocomplete a few, that’s just the way it is, but, in general, ourpass coverage was outstanding tonight, the best it’s been thisseason.”

Lawrence County took a 7-0 lead on the first play fromscrimmage, with Hardy bolting right up the middle, untouched, for80 yards and a score. Rishawn Haynes kicked the extra point.

Terry knotted the score at 7-7 with 3:50 left in the firstquarter, on Shearer’s 24-yard pass to Rashun Dixon. The tie wasshort-lived, as 2 plays later, Hardy again busted a trap play upthe middle, going 51 yards for a 14-7 Cougar lead.

Early in the second quarter, Hardy scored his third TD of thenight, this time a 27-yarder. When Terry was penalized half thedistance to the goal on the PAT attempt, Davis elected to go for 2points, and Hardy was stopped inches short. The Cougars led20-7.

With 7:19 left in the half, Shearer’s 1-yard sneak cut theCougar lead to 20-14. That’s as close as it would ever get.

Three plays later, Woods got behind Rashun Dixon, playingsafety, and was hit in perfect stride by McCall’s 50-yard touchdownpass. Another 2-point attempt failed. LCHS led 26-14. In the waningmoments of the half, McCall and Woods were at it again, connectingon a 20-yard scoring toss. An Isaiah Ferdinand 24-yard run set itup. The Cougars led 33-14.

It nearly got worse for Terry. After Lawrence County recoveredan accidental squib kick on the ensuing kickoff, Hardy, on the lastplay of the half, was tripped up just before ripping off anotherlong run.

While quick-strike touchdowns were the rule for Lawrence Countyin the first half, methodical ball control sealed the victory inthe second half. LCHS controlled the football for 16 of 24 minutes,limiting Terry to 4 first downs after intermission. Two of thefirst downs came via pass interference calls, and 2 of them came inthe final minute of the game.

Junior linebacker Dontray Collins had a big night for theCougars, leading the defense with a total of 10 tackles. Juniorcornerback Curtis Carr made one of the biggest plays of the night.On a quick-hitch pass to Antwon Dixon, Carr made a great open-fieldtackle and caused a fumble that was recovered by Monyale Mikell.Cougar coaches also had high praise for the efforts of seniorcornerback Murphy Peyton.

Ferdinand, who rushed for 103 yards on 15 carries, scored thefinal touchdown of the night on a 5-yard run.