LMS Tigers tear apart Whitthorne in opener
The Lewisburg Middle School Tigers recorded their third straight blowout victory over Whitthorne Middle School on the gridiron when they rolled to a 47-0 win in their season opener on Thursday night in Columbia.
Having outscored Whitthorne 105-20 in their last two meetings, the Tigers moved in for the kill early on Thursday and forged a 34-0 lead in the first half before tacking on two more touchdowns over the final two quarters to complete the demolition of the longtime rival.
"We warned them all week that even though we beat them easily the last two years we would still have to play well," said Lewisburg coach Elliot Cook. "Our theme for this game was to be relentless on offense and defense. Apparently the kids took that message to heart."
Despite working on a short field for most of the contest, the Tigers racked up 282 yards of total offense while averaging a whooping 10.1 yards per play. Lewisburg repeatedly gashed Whitthorne's defensive front and churned out 210 yards rushing on just 19 carries
Tailback Wesley Walker led the Tiger ground attack by rushing for 79 yards and two touchdowns on just six carries to go along with a 27-yard catch and a 18-yard TD pass. Miciah Greer also added 32 yards rushing and a touchdown on four carries, while Keewon Ingram and Terrez Smith both toted the ball three times for 50 and 29 yards respectively. Devontavious Wilson proved to be a jack of all trades for Lewisburg, as he returned a punt 30 yards for a TD, caught an 18-yard touchdown pass from Walker, and gained 18 yards on his lone rushing attempt of the game.
Airing it out
Tiger quarterback K.J. Johnson had an efficient night throwing the ball and completed 6-of-8 passes for 54 yards and a touchdown. Mitchell Ford was Johnson's primary target and hauled in three passes for 24 yards while Keshun Gentry had a three-yard touchdown reception.
Lewisburg's defense turned in an equally impressive performance, as they recorded two sacks, notched eight tackles for loss, and forced three turnovers en route to limiting Whitthorne to two first downs and 26 yards of total offense.
Tailback Howard Burkeen was Whitthorne's biggest bright spot and rushed for 43 yards on eight carries, while TreSean Hopkins toted the pigskin four times for 14 yards. WMS quarterback Christian Morrow had a rough evening, as he finished with -24 yards rushing on six carries and tossed an incompletion on his lone pass attempt.
Hunter Lancaster recorded six tackles to lead the Tiger defense and Dagon Stacey registered five tackles, two sacks, and a fumble recovery. Walker also notched four tackles, while Greer, Malik Thomison, and X'zavier Garrett chipped in three tackles apiece. Jayshon Wilcox and Kevontez Allen each recovered a fumble for Lewisburg as well.
Off to the races
The Tigers came out with the claws bared and marched 58 yards to the end zone in five plays to grab an 8-0 lead in the first quarter. Walker started the drive with a nine-yard run before Johnson hit Mitchell for an 16-yard gain two plays later to move the ball down to the Whitthorne 32. After Wilson ripped off an 18-yard run, Walker scored on a 14-yard touchdown scamper while Ford caught Johnson's two-point conversion pass a few moments later.
Lewisburg forced Whitthorne to punt on their opening possession with the help of a holding penalty before Walker broke loose for a 42-yard touchdown jaunt to give the Tigers a 14-0 advantage midway through the first quarter.
Following a three and out by Whitthorne, Wilson caught a short punt by kicker Ronnie Eggleton and raced 30 yards down the left sideline for a TD to stretch Lewisburg's lead to 20-0 with :22 left in the first quarter.
The teams then exchanged fumbles before the Tigers stopped Whitthorne on downs at the WMS 38. It took Lewisburg only three plays to cash in on the favorable field position, as Walker hit Wilson for an 18-yard touchdown strike on a halfback pass while Smith converted the extra point to make it 27-0 early in the second period.
After Allen recovered a fumble by Morrow at the Whitthorne 35, the Tigers found pay dirt four plays later when Greer scored on a six-yard TD run. Smith then tacked on the extra point to push Lewisburg's lead to 34-0.
Things continued to go downhill for Whitthorne at the start of the second half, as Stacey recovered a fumble by Burkeen at the WMS 31 on the first play of the third quarter before Lewisburg punched the ball into the end zone six plays later when Gentry caught a three-yard touchdown pass from Johnson. Lancaster then booted the extra point to stake the Tigers to a 41-0 advantage.
One more score
Whitthorne finally picked up their initial first down of the game on their next drive thanks to a 20-yard run by Burkeen, but Lewisburg quickly halted the advance and stopped WMS on downs near midfield with the aid of a Stacey sack.
The Tigers then put together a four-play 51-yard drive, highlighted by an Ingram 12-yard TD run, to cap their 47-0 triumph.