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North Pike cruises past Lawrence Co.

DAILY LEADER / JONATHON ALFORD / Lawrence County running back Laderrick McCray prepares for a hard hit as North Pike defender Alex Breeland hustles in for the tackle Friday night in Monticello.

DAILY LEADER / JONATHON ALFORD / Lawrence County running back Laderrick McCray prepares for a hard hit as North Pike defender Alex Breeland hustles in for the tackle Friday night in Monticello.

MONTICELLO – The North Pike Jaguars opened Region 7-4A play with a 41-21 win over the Lawrence County Cougars in high school football action Friday night at LCHS. The Jaguars got five touchdown passes from quarterback Austin Smith, while Lakedric Lee rushed for 200 yards on 22 carries.

With the win, Chris Smith’s North Pike team improved to 4-3 overall, and 1-0 in the division. Lawrence County, under first-year coach Herbert Davis, fell to 3-4 overall, and 0-1 in Region 7-4A play.

“We came out a little flat,” Coach Chris Smith said, “but I thought we played pretty well all in all. Our quarterback had a very good night, his best of the season, I thought. He really took charge of our offense tonight.”

Austin Smith completed 12 of 21 passes for 258 yards, and five touchdowns. All five touchdowns went to brothers Jalen Jackson and Javian Jackson. Jalen caught five passes for 116 yards, and two touchdowns. Javian had four grabs for 106 yards, and three scores.

Meanwhile, Lawrence County, which saw a shift in offensive philosophy in the early season, with the emergence of strong-armed quarterback Hayden Davis, fell back on its traditional ground attack in Davis’ absence. Davis, son of head coach Herbert Davis, underwent knee surgery earlier in the week. LCHS rushed for 209 yards, while still managing to pass for 102.

On the fourth play of the game, Smith threw to Jalen Jackson for 63 yards and a touchdown. North Pike led 6-0 just two minutes into the game.

After the next three possessions ended in punts, a long run by Lakedric Lee set up the Jaguars’ second score. On the first play of the second quarter, with North Pike facing third-and-eight from its own seven-yard line, Lee ripped off 60 yards. After a 20-yard run by Nekia Trotter, Smith scored on a 13-yard run, and the Jaguars led 12-0.

The Cougar offense responded, moving 61 yards in seven plays, all on the ground. Gabraun Smith ran for 10 yards, and T-Tez Cole had runs of 11 and 14. Those plays set up Cole’s one-yard touchdown plunge. Joshua Stephens kicked the extra point, making it a 12-7 game.

Lawrence County would continue to have some offensive success – the Cougars picked up 20 first downs in the game-but North Pike would score the next 29 points. First, the Jaguars drove 74 yards in 10 plays. Lee had a 24-yard run, but most of the drive came on arm of Austin Smith. Smith’s eight-yard scoring toss to Jalen Jackson, and Smith’s two-point conversion run gave North Pike a 20-7 lead.

After forcing a three-and-out punt from Lawrence County, North Pike drove 49 yards for another score. Lee’s 21-yard run set up an eight-yard touchdown pass from Smith to Javian Jackson. Lee ran for two points and a 28-7 halftime lead.

The Cougars drove into North Pike territory on the opening series of the second half, but were stopped on downs. The Jaguar offense took over again. Lee had a 15-yard run that helped to set up Smith’s fourth touchdown pass of the night, a 12-yarder to Javian Jackson.

Lawrence County drove the length of the field after that, only to fumble the football away at the Jaguar five-yard line. Lakedric Lee got North Pike out of its own end with a 25-yard run. Smith then connected with Javian Jackson for 66 yards, and the Jaguars’ final tally of the night.

Lawrence County put up two quick touchdowns in the fourth quarter. The first, another one-yard run by Cole, was set up by Gabraun Smith’s 44-yard kickoff return. After Joshua Stephens recovered his own on-side kick, Will Jackson completed passes to Gabraun Smith, LaDerrick McCray, and Quitten Brown, setting up McCray’s six-yard touchdown run.

Gabruan Smith rushed for 93 yards on 10 carries to lead the Cougars. Cole gained 65 yards on 14 tries. Will Jackson passed for 102 yards, but was intercepted 3 times by the Jaguars.

Ladarius Dunn, Laddarius Coney, and Q’Mond Woods had interceptions for the Jaguars. D’Edrick Jones recovered a Lawrence County fumble.

North Pike will host Purvis in region play this Friday. Lawrence County will play host to McComb.