LMS Tigers rally past David Lipscomb

Friday, September 14, 2012
The 2012 Lewisburg Middle School football Homecoming Court: Pictured are seventh grade attendant Caroline McCormick, eighth grade attendant Laura Beth Brown, eighth grade attendant Allison Starling, LMS Homecoming Queen Megan Hollingsworth with escorts Ben Taylor and Dathan Achord, eighth grade attendant Glyndon Wicks, eighth grade attendant Lesley Hudson, eighth grade attendant Deserae Black, and seventh grade attendant Lynzee Adams. Photos by Louis G. Scheuchenzuber

After beating David Lipscomb 22-18 last year, the Lewisburg Middle School Tigers (5-0) got the better of the Nashville private school for the second straight time on Tuesday night, as they rallied to defeat the Mustangs 24-14 at Preston Hopkins Field on Homecoming.

David Lipscomb appeared bent on avenging last season's loss at the start of the game and raced out to a 14-0 lead early in the second quarter.

The Tigers, however, managed to turn the tide and mounted a touchdown drive late in the first half to narrow the gap to 14-8 before outscoring the Mustangs 16-0 over the final two quarters to claim the 10-point victory.

Lewisburg's Jay Howard makes a diving tackle to bring down David Lipscomb's Emmanuel Sanders during an eight-yard run in the first quarter.

"There was no panic on the sidelines when we fell behind because I knew we had people that could make some plays and score some points," said Lewisburg coach Jeff Morton. "We trailed at halftime last year and came back so I had confidence we could do it again."

Although LMS committed two turnovers and was held to a season low 182 yards by David Lipscomb, the Tigers got a big boost from their special teams in the form of a 66-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by Caleb Fields at the start of the third quarter.

Aided by a 49-yard touchdown run by tailback D'Andre Brown, Lewisburg finished with 128 yards rushing on 25 carries. Brown led the Tigers' ground game with 71 yards on 13 carries, while quarterback Jay Howard toted the ball eight times for 49 yards and a touchdown.

Lewisburg's Brett McGehee and Bennielle Hill try to cut off David Lipscomb's Emmanuel Sanders during a two-point conversion run in the first quarter.

Howard was also effective throwing the ball and completed 4-of-6 passes for 54 yards. Fields was LMS' leading receiver and hauled in two passes for 38 yards while Bennielle Hill had one catch for 36 yards. Brown caught one pass as well, but was dropped for a 20-yard loss on the play.

Despite getting off to a fast start, the Mustangs finished with a modest 223 yards of total offense, which included just 60 yards in the second half, while the Tigers forced three David Lipscomb turnovers.

The Mustangs did most of the damage on the ground and tallied 171 yards rushing on 36 carries. Garrett Sanderson and Griffin Smiley each toted the pigskin eight times for 53 and 46 yards respectively to pace David Lipscomb offensively. William Phillips also added 41 yards rushing on 10 carries before leaving the game early in the third quarter with an apparent ankle injury.

Mustang quarterback Emmanuel Sanders completed four of his first five throws, but struggled from that point on, as he connected on only 6-of-14 passes overall for 52 yards and a touchdown while tossing three second half interceptions.

Sanderson caught three passes for 31 yards to lead David Lipscomb's receiving corps, and Pearson Flynn had two receptions for 18 yards and a touchdown.

Brown recorded 12 tackles and an interception to spearhead the Tigers' defensive effort, while Hill notched 11 tackles. Howard, Daeveantae Brown, and Tre Crutcher also tallied six, four, and three tackles respectively with Howard picking off two passes.

"We put Jay on the field on defense tonight and he certainly made a difference," said Morton. "We made some adjustments on defense at halftime too. We changed the position of our defensive ends and tried to spread everything out."

The Mustangs grabbed the momentum early and started the game by putting together a six-play, 56-yard scoring drive, capped by a Phillips 14-yard touchdown jaunt. Sanders then ran in the two-point conversion to give David Lipscomb an 8-0 lead with 6:10 left in the first quarter.

Following a three and out by LMS, the Mustangs advanced from their own 43 to the Tiger 7 in 10 plays with the help of 15-yard reception by Sanderson and a 13-yard catch by Flynn. Sanders then hit Flynn for a five-yard touchdown pass two snaps later to make it 14-0 with 7:54 left in the second quarter, before David Roberts stopped Collin Rudolph short of the goal line on the two-point conversion run.

The Tigers were stopped on downs at the David Lipscomb 36 on their second offensive series, but the LMS defense forced the Mustangs to punt on their ensuing possession.

Lewisburg finally got their offense on track on their third drive and marched 53 yards to pay dirt in six plays to cut the deficit to 14-8 late in the second quarter. After Fields caught a 13-yard pass to convert a 3rd and 12 situation, Howard found Hill for a 36-yard completion to move the ball down the David Lipscomb 5. Howard then scored on a quarterback draw on the next play before running in the two-point conversion.

Fields gave LMS a shot in the arm at the start of the second half when he fielded a squib kick by David Lipscomb and raced 66 yards down the left sideline for a touchdown. Brown then ran in the two point conversion to put Lewisburg up 16-14.

After the Tigers forced the Mustangs to punt with the aid of a sack by Bryan Westmoreland and Brayden Gentry, the two teams exchanged turnovers before Brown broke loose for a 49-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter. Hill then ran in the two-point conversion to push Lewisburg's lead to 24-14.

David Lipscomb advanced down to the LMS 22 on their next offensive series, but the Tigers held the Mustangs to three yards on their next four plays to take possession of the ball on downs.

Sanders was then picked off by Howard and Brown on David Lipscomb's final two drives of the game before the Tigers ran out the clock to clinch their second straight victory over the Mustangs.