Lawrence Co. overpowers Crystal Springs

Published 2:00 am Sunday, September 7, 2014

MONTICELLO – Sophomore running back Quitten Brown scored four touchdowns as the Lawrence County Cougars defeated the Crystal Springs Tigers 34-18 on a muddy, sloppy football night in Monticello.

A heavy downpour drenched the LCHS football field about an hour before game-time, making for less-than-ideal conditions for football. The two teams combined for seven turnovers in the game, five of them lost fumbles.

“It wasn’t a great night, or a great game,” said first-year Lawrence County coach Jaymie Palmer. “We’re happy to get the win, but we’ve got to get better if we want to meet our goals for this season. The field conditions took away some things we wanted to do.

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“Give credit to Crystal Springs,” Palmer said. “Their kids played hard, and they’ve got some really talented players.”

Defense-and poor footing-dominated the first quarter, as none of the first five offensive possessions produced points. With 1:22 left in the period, LCHS defensive tackle Brandon Armstrong got a hand on a Brandon Frayde punt, setting the Cougars up in good field position. Five plays later, Brown scored on a 33-yard run, giving Lawrence County a 6-0 lead.

Crystal Springs’ Dionysius Hines almost matched Brown, scoring three touchdowns of his own. His first came on a 15-yard run on the ensuing possession, set up by Jeriko Morris’ 76-yard kickoff return. That knotted the score at 6-6.

Lawrence County’s next two possessions ended in Brown touchdowns. The first, a six-yarder, capped a 14-play drive. The second, set up by a Laderrick McCray pass interception, came on the final play of the first half. Disdaining a field goal attempt, Brown scored on a three-yard run. Joshua Stephens kicked four straight extra points, and this one gave the Cougars a 20-6 halftime lead.

Brown’s final touchdown came with 7:20 left in the third quarter, on a five-yard run. That gave the Cougars a seemingly comfortable 27-6 lead.

Crystal Springs didn’t go quietly. Both were scored by Hines, but quarterback/receiver Jeriko Morris was the Cougars’ biggest problem. The junior tossed a 31-yard touchdown pass to Hines, but it was his work as a receiver that got the Tigers back into the game.

Moving to receiver, Morris caught four passes for 93 yards from backup quarterback Terreunta Johnson. In most cases, Morris was surrounded by LCHS defenders but simply out-wrestled the Cougars for the football.

Hines’ final touchdown cut Lawrence County’s lead to 27-18. The Cougars put the game away when junior safety T-Tez Cole scooped up a Tiger fumble and raced 27 yards for a touchdown.

Cole led the Lawrence County defense with 10 tackles, a sack and a fumble recovery for a touchdown. Gaylon Pittman and Marcus Kees also had fumble recoveries.

The Cougars rushed for 272 muddy yards, compared to just 60 for Crystal Springs. Cole rushed 14 times for 86 yards, while quarterback Jerod Barnes gained 87 yards on 14 attempts. Barnes replaced LCHS starter Charl’Tez Nunnery in the second quarter, when Nunnery went down with a leg injury that did not appear to be serious. Brown gained 68 yards on 15 tries.

Hines led Crystal Springs with 58 yards on 13 carries, while also catching two passes for 37 yards.

The game was halted briefly in the third quarter by a sizable brawl in the center of the football field. Cooler heads prevailed. Both teams were assessed unsportsmanlike conduct penalties. No one was ejected. Palmer was not pleased.

“That’s not what we are,” Palmer said, “and that’s not what I expect of this team, and of this program. Regardless of what started it, we’re taught to be better than that. That situation will be addressed.”

Lawrence County will play host to Prentiss this Friday. Crystal Springs returns home to host Raymond.