• 39°

Lawrence County Cougars could trip up major contender

Story by Adam Northam

There won’t be any playoffs for the Lawrence County Cougars, but they will have a chance to poke someone else in the eye and that’s the next best thing.

The polite terminology is to “play the spoiler,” but few things on the football field in Monticello will be polite when the Wildcats from Greene County come prowling Friday night.

“I just hope our kids will continue to play hard and with class,” said Jaymie Palmer, Lawrence County’s head coach.

The Cougars (3-6, 0-3) will have to play hard if they’re going to win this catfight — Greene County (8-1, 2-1) has only lost once, a district affair to Poplarville, and they still put up 36 points in the effort.

But some of those games have been close. While the Wildcats took care of Quitman and Forrest County Agricultural High School handily enough, they squeaked out 1-point victories against George County and Vancleave, and a single possession could have turned things sour against Long Beach, Moss Point and Purvis. Scores have been low — two touchdowns or less — in half those games.

Lawrence County, meanwhile, is averaging a respectable 22 points per game, even with a shutout loss to open the season against North Pike skewing those numbers toward the negative. If the Cougars can force the Wildcats into another of their off-nights offensively, they’ll have a chance to go punch for punch.

And the Cougars can throw a lot of jabs. No one player is going to save the day for Lawrence County, but the roster includes seven players who have rushed for at least 100 yards this season, and among them are more than 1,300 rushing yards and a dozen touchdowns.

Sophomore Kylan Cooper leads the bunch with 356 rushing yards and three scores, while senior Kendarius Feazell has gained 216 yards and a trio of touchdowns. The offense as a whole has found the paint 20 times this season.

Lawrence County kicks off at 7 p.m. Friday at home against Greene County.