LCHS roars past Crystal Springs

Published 3:30 pm Sunday, September 8, 2013

CRYSTAL SPRINGS – Hayden Davis passed for 309 yards and two touchdowns, and T-Tez Cole rushed for 100 yards and two scores, as the Lawrence County Cougars defeated Crystal Springs 35-21 in high school football action Friday night.

Friday’s game was a seesaw battle that saw Lawrence County jump to a 13-0 lead. Crystal Springs battled back, however, behind the strong passing arm of Standrique Wilson, to take a 21-20 lead entering the fourth quarter. The final period belonged to the Cougars, as LCHS scored offensive and defensive touchdowns to seal the win.

With the win, Herbert Davis’ Cougars improved to 2-1 on the season, having already exceeded Lawrence County’s win total from last season. Crystal Springs, also under a first-year coach in Stephen Rice, fell to 0-3.

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“I thought we did what we wanted to do offensively,” Davis said. “We rushed for over 200 yards and passed for over 300, but we left a couple of scores out there on the field. Defensively, we gave up a couple of deep passes, but Crystal Springs’ guys deserve some credit for those.”

Lawrence County got on the board with 5:37 remaining in the first quarter, when Hayden Davis hit Kody Smith for 18 yards and a touchdown. An extra-point fake attempt failed. It was a huge night for Smith, a junior. He caught five passes for 103 yards.

On the first play of the second quarter, Davis connected with Tony Maye on a 29-yard touchdown pass. Josh Stephens’ extra point gave the Cougars a 13-0 lead. Maye had four catches for 64 yards.

Lawrence County appeared very close to putting the game away on its next possession. On second down, from the Tiger 17-yard line, Cole burst up the middle on a running play, only to fumble at the 3-yard line. Crystal Springs recovered, despite protests from LCHS players and coaches that Cole was down when he lost the football.

Crystal Springs took advantage, driving 97 yards in an epic march that included a fake punt from the Tigers’ own 11-yard line. The drive culminated with Wilson, after a mad scramble, finding Octavious Bingham for 45 yards and a touchdown. It was 13-7.

Taking over with 1:54 left in the half, Davis quickly passed the Cougars down the field. Facing second-and-goal from the Crystal Springs 1, LCHS called its final timeout of the half with 24 seconds left on the clock.

Davis attempted to run the football in, but was stopped at the 1. Though there were 18 seconds left on the clock when the play ended, the officiating crew never got the football set for another play.

“The way the half ended was extremely frustrating,” Coach Davis said. “We left two touchdowns on the field. We felt like we should have had a three or four-touchdown lead, instead of a one touchdown lead.”

The first three possessions of the second half ended in touchdowns. First, Standrique Wilson hit a streaking Jeremy Archie for 67 yards and a touchdown, knotting the game at 7-7.

LCHS responded by driving the length of the field, most of it on the running of Cole and freshman Quitten Brown. Brown had consecutive 14-yard runs to set up Cole’s 3-yard scoring run. The Cougars led 20-13.

Crystal Springs bounced right back. Wilson hit Jeriko Morris for 45 yards, setting up a 14-yard scoring pass from that same combination. Wilson ran for 2, giving the Tigers a 21-20 lead.

After two possessions ended without points, LCHS took over at its own 8 with 16 seconds left in the third quarter. Hayden Davis took charge, passing to Matt Beverly for 39 yards, then to Kody Smith for 13 yards, and then to Chandler Lewis for 34 yards. Those completions set up Cole’s second touchdown of the game, a 3-yard run. Cole then ran for 2 points, making it a 28-21 game.

On Crystal Springs’ next offensive play, Lawrence County senior Gabraun Smith largely sealed the win, picking off Wilson’s pass and returning it 57 yards for a touchdown. Josh Stephens was three for three on extra point attempts.

Wilson passed for 212 yards, completing nine of 17 passes. He was intercepted twice. Dionysius Hines carried 13 times for 57 yards for the Tigers. Archie had four catches for 111 yards.

Herbert Davis’ Cougars will remain on the road this Friday, traveling to Prentiss. Crystal Springs will play at Raymond.