Lawrence Co. clips Vikings in wild finish

Published 6:00 pm Sunday, August 29, 2010

MONTICELLO – The Lawrence County Cougars survived a wild fourthquarter comeback and defeated the Warren Central Vikings, 29-27, inhigh school football action Friday night. Lawrence County scored totake a 29-7 lead with 8:03 left in the game, only to see WarrenCentral storming back with three late touchdowns.

On the decisive play, the LCHS defense stopped Viking running backShon Jackson just shy of the goal line on a 2-point conversionattempt and preserved the win. Cougar defensive end Jordan Graysonthen recovered the ensuing onside kick.

“I’m awfully glad that we won the game,” said seventh-year LawrenceCounty coach Mike Davis. “Warren Central is a quality 6A opponentthat put a pretty good thumping on us last year, so beating them isa good accomplishment. That said, I would be even happier if thelast eight minutes had gone a little better.”

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In all, the fourth quarter featured five touchdowns. Going into thefinal period, LCHS had forged a 15-7 lead in a game that had beendominated largely by the defenses. Early in the fourth, the Cougarsscored on touchdown runs of 31 yards and 19 yards by junior backAlexander Montgomery.

Montgomery rushed 15 times for 168 yards and 3 touchdowns, leadinga Lawrence County attack that produced 357 rushing yards and 378yards of total offense. Those impressive totals came despite afirst-quarter leg injury to starting quarterback Adam Watson.

Sophomore Nicholas McDonald filled in admirably, but Watson’sabsence did limit the LCHS playbook.

“Nicko did great job,” Coach Davis said. “He ran the plays he ranvery well. But our playbook was considerably thinner without Adamin the game. If Adam is a no-go next week, Nicko will be moreprepared to run more of the offense. It’s tough when your startingquarterback goes down in the first quarter.”

While Watson’s absence limited the Cougars to just one passattempt–a 21-yard completion from McDonald to LaQuanHilliard–Warren Central quarterback Beau Wallace found the rangein the second half. All 154 of his passing yards came after theintermission, with wide receiver Malcolm Grant hauling in 5 catchesfor 133 yards and 2 touchdowns. Shon Jackson added 115 rushingyards, on 18 carries, for the Vikings.

The first quarter proved scoreless. McDonald, having replaced thebanged up Watson, scored on a spectacular 16-yard touchdownscamper. After Warren Central was twice penalized for roughing theextra-point kicker, Glenn Russell banged in a 2-point conversionfrom inside the 1-yard line.

LCHS got deep into Viking territory again late in the first half,but fumbled the football away at the WC 4-yard line.

Midway through the third quarter, Alexander, who missed most of theCallaway game with a shoulder injury, broke loose on a 75-yard run.He scored on a 5-yard run on the next play, and Tremaine Brownkicked the PAT, giving Lawrence County a seemingly comfortable 15-0lead.

That started a festival of scoring. On the next play fromscrimmage, Warren Central’s Wallace hit Grant for 65 yards and atouchdown, making it a 15-7 game. That set up the wild fourthquarter, with Lawrence County extending its lead to 29-7, only tosee most of that lead dwindle in the final minutes of thegame.

Two lost fumbles by the Cougars late in the fourth quarter, gavethe Viking their chance. On the night, LCHS fumbled the footballfive times, losing four of them.

“Obviously, that’s not good,” Davis said, “and it could have easilycost us this game. I thought our kids played hard, played withgreat emotion, and generally played pretty well, but that fumblecolumn is a statistic that can wipe out all of those good things.We’ve got to do better in that area.”

Unofficially, Justin Barnes and LaQuan Hilliard led the LCHSdefense, each with a total of nine tackles and assists. LaKendrickBarnes had eight tackles. Linebacker Austin Roberts was a defensivestandout for Warren Central.

Lawrence County improved to 1-1 with the victory. Warren Central,coached by Josh Morgan, fell to 0-2.