LMS mauls Bobcats, season ends in controversy
For the majority of the night, beginning with pre-game homecoming activities, followed by a 36-6 thrashing over the Bridgeforth Bobcats, the Tigers and their fans enjoyed the festivities, only to get a major letdown when head coach Jeff Morton informed everyone that his 7-1 squad would not play in either of Saturday's conference bowl games at Spring Hill.
Morton was informed on a phone call from Spring that his team would have to take a loss for a canceled game at Whitthorne earlier in the season when in fact, his squad was told to go home because of a scheduling conflict on that afternoon by the home team.
The only make-up date provided by the conference for the game was on a week that LMS already had two games scheduled and under TMSAA guidelines, a team cannot play three games in one week.
With the forced forfeit, Morton's team would have to play for third or fourth place and he and the coaching staff decided they were not going at all if the conference's best team would not have an opportunity to play for the title.
"It's a raw deal," said Morton. "I couldn't see going over and playing with a 7-1 record and getting a third place trophy."
Spring Hill, the only team that beat LMS this season and Dickson, who lost big to the Tigers were penciled in as the championship game participants.
"We tried to resolve the issue," said Morton. "We talked to Spring Hill's athletic director, Spring Hill's coach, and the Dickson coach to ask him if he really wanted to play them for the title because he had beaten them 28-0 earlier in the season, so I don't know if he can really consider that a championship game when we are the only team to beat them."
The controversy over-shadowed a great effort on the part of the Tigers on the gridiron and may have affected them early as the only led 14-6 at the half before turning it on in the second half to complete the rout.
The nationally touted Peyton Williams had another big night for the Tigers, rushing for 177 yards on 7 carries, including three runs of over forty yards or more with two of them resulting in touchdowns, both coming in the pull-away third quarter.
Williams finished the season with 10 touchdowns as he rushed for a total of 750 yards on 47 attempts for an average of 16.0 yards per carry.
After a scoreless first quarter, the Tigers got on the board first as Curtis Keiler capped off a five play drive with a two-yard touchdown run very early in the second quarter.
LMS quarterback Jay Howard found TaTa Davis with a pass for the two-point conversion.
The Bobcats came right back with their only score of the game two minutes later on an eight-yard quarterback keeper by Mario McGraw.
The conversion run try was no good and LMS led 8-6 with 4:30 remaining in the first half.
LMS answered quickly on a three-play drive, highlighted by a 51-yard run by Williams down to the Bridgeforth two-yard line and finished off on a touchdown run from there by Dylan Jones.
The Bobcats went four and out on their next touch before Howard was intercepted in the endzone on the Tigers' next offensive series.
Howard's defensive teammates picked him up when D'Andre Brown picked off McGraw on the next play, ending the first half with LMS up, 14-6.
The Tiger defense kept on the pressure in the third quarter, stopping Bridgeforth on fourth down again on the first series of the second half.
Williams had TD runs of 43 and again from 51 yards out in the third quarter and Brown capped off the scoring with a 61-yard touchdown run in the fourth for the thirty-point win.
Jones ended up with 25 yards rushing on four carries and a touchdown, Keiler had a big night with 71-yards on nine touches, Howard rushed for 54 yards, TaTa Davis chipped in with 48 yards on four carries, and Brown had the 61-yard score.
"It was a great win," said Morton. "We moved the ball a couple of times, but couldn't capitalize on good field position and score in the first half, but we took care of it on offense and defense in the second half."