LMS Tigers hammer Spring Hill
A battle of unbeatens turned out to be a total mismatch, as the Lewisburg Middle School Tigers crushed Big South Conference rival Spring Hill 52-26 at home on Tuesday night to avenge a 14-6 loss to the Generals last year.
The Tigers (6-0, 3-0 Conference) buried Spring Hill with an avalanche of first half touchdowns and held a staggering 52-0 lead at the break before coasting to the 26-point victory.
With the win, the Tigers gained sole possession of first place in the Big South Conference standings and earned the right to host the league's championship game on Oct. 6.
"The kids were motivated tonight because they handed us our only loss last year," said LMS coach Jeff Morton. "That first half was just incredible. We have an explosive group of guys that can score in a lot of ways. It was amazing to watch sometimes."
Lewisburg's offense looked unstoppable in the first half, as the Tigers racked up 336 yards in the opening two quarters en route to finishing with 346 yards of total offense overall.
Bolstered by several long runs from their contingent of talented backs, LMS rolled up 211 yards rushing while averaging a whopping 9.2 yards per carry.
Quarterback Jay Howard spearheaded Lewisburg's ground attack by rushing for 90 yards and a touchdown on six carries. D'Andre Brown also added a 52-yard TD run to go along with a 59-yard fumble return for a touchdown , while Caleb Fields and Kamron Hightower-Liggett each toted the ball six times for 42 and 32 yards respectively with both players scoring once. J.Q Haislip-Hightower and Bennielle Hill scored on TD runs of three and one yard respectively for the Tigers as well.
Howard augmented Lewisburg's running game by completing 4-of-7 passes for 128 yards and a touchdown. Fields also saw time at quarterback and completed 1-of-2 passes for seven yards.
Brown was the Tigers' top receiver and hauled in two passes for 44 yards, while Tre Crutcher added a 46-yard touchdown catch. Hill had a 38-yard reception as well, and Tre Fields caught one pass for seven yards.
"I thought we could throw on them because Spring Hill's secondary plays a lot of man-to-man converge and couldn't match up with our receivers," said Morton.
The Generals tallied a modest 192 yards of total offense, but mustered only 56 yards in the pivotal first half while committing five turnovers during that span.
Aided by a 62-yard touchdown run by tailback Dante Smith, Spring Hill finished with 144 yards rushing on 24 carries. Smith was the lone bright spot for the Generals, as he rushed for 129 yards and two touchdowns on 13 carries, caught a 43-yard TD pass, and returned a fumble 55 yards for a score.
Spring Hill quarterback Blake Lovell completed just 3-of-8 passes for 48 yards and a touchdown while tossing one interception.
Quinton Holmon, Bryan Westmoreland, Brett McGehee, and Hill each registered three tackles to pace the Tiger defense with Holmon recovering a fumble and Hill recording an interception. Tristan Maxwell and Zack Eason also recovered fumbles for LMS, while Brown and Dathan Achord both notched a sack.
The Tigers set the tone early, as Brown raced 52 yards for a touchdown on the second play of the game before Hill ran in the two-point conversion to stake Lewisburg to an 8-0 lead.
After Holmon recovered a fumble by General return man Malik Wyatt at midfield on the kickoff, Howard broke loose for a 44-yard run prior to scoring on a five-yard touchdown jaunt four plays later to make it 14-0 with 5:44 left in the first quarter.
Following a Spring Hill punt, Howard hit Crutcher for a 46-yard touchdown strike to push Lewisburg's lead to 20-0 late in the opening quarter.
The Generals were forced to punt again on their ensuing possession before Nathan Fuller blocked the kick to give the Tigers the ball at the Spring Hill 39.
Lewisburg quickly capitalized on the good field position, as Hill hauled in a 38-yard pass from Howard prior to scoring on a one-yard TD plunge on the next play. Howard then ran in the two-point conversion to give LMS a 28-0 advantage with 7:36 remaining in the second quarter.
After Maxwell recovered a fumble by Smith at the General 26 a few moments later, Howard connected with Brown for a 23-yard gain before Haislip-Hightower scored on a three-yard touchdown run to extend the Tigers' lead to 34-0.
Spring Hill picked up a couple of first downs on their next offensive series, but Brown ripped the ball out of Lovell's arms on a 4th and 1 run and galloped 59 yards to the end zone to stretch Lewisburg's lead to 40-0.
Hill then picked off Lovell on the Generals' ensuing drive before the Tigers opened up a 46-0 advantage on a 30-yard TD run by Caleb Fields with :38 left in the half.
Spring Hill once again had trouble on the kickoff, as the ball bounced off the chest of Justin Oden and Eason pounced on the pigskin to set up Lewisburg at the General 42.
LMS then extended their lead to 52-0 when Hightower-Liggett scampered 16 yards for a touchdown on the final play of the half.
With Lewisburg primarily playing their reserves in the second half, the Generals got on the board early in the third quarter thanks to a 43-yard touchdown catch by Smith to trim the deficit to 52-6.
Smith then returned a Tiger fumble 55 yards for a score late in the third quarter to make it 52-12 before breaking loose for a 62-yard TD run to narrow the gap to 52-18 with 2:36 left in the fourth period.
Following a successful onside kick attempt by Spring Hill, Smith scored on an eight-yard TD jaunt in the waning moments of the game prior to running in the two-point conversion for the 52-26 final.