LMS Tigers stop Spring Hill, earn rematch for BSC title
After losing 32-14 to Dickson County in their previous game, the Lewisburg Middle School Tigers earned a rematch with the Dragons when they crushed the Spring Hill Generals 46-6 on Thursday night at home to earn a spot in the Big South Conference championship game, which will be held on Oct. 4 in Dickson.
Spring Hill had defeated LMS 34-20 last year en route to posting an 8-0 record and claiming the Big South Conference title.
Speed is difference
The Tigers, however, proved to have too much team speed for the defending champs on Thursday and broke the Generals' will with a barrage of big plays, as they raced out to a 26-0 lead in the first half before outscoring Spring Hill 20-6 over the final two quarters to roll to the 40-point victory.
"We wanted to avenge last year's loss and bounce back from last week's loss to Dickson County," said Lewisburg coach Elliot Cook. "We needed to win this game to go to the championship game so it was easy to get the guys up this week."
Aided by six plays of 20 yards or more, the Tigers racked up 353 yards of total offense, which included 213 yards rushing on 22 carries.
"Spring Hill likes to play a lot of people in the box. We felt if we could get our skill players in the open field we could make some big plays," said Cook.
Tailback Wesley Walker once again was the Tigers' main offensive weapon and rushed for 158 yards and three touchdowns on 13 carries. Miciah Greer also tallied 51 yards rushing and a TD on five carries, while Jayshon Wilcox added a four-yard touchdown run.
LMS quarterback K.J. Johnson helped loosen up Spring Hill's defense by completing 7-of-11 passes for 140 yards and a touchdown to go along with one interception. Devontavious Wilson was Johnson's primary target and hauled in three passes for 82 yards and a touchdown. Keshun Gentry and Mitchell Ford each caught one pass as well for 47 and 11 yards respectively.
Lewisburg, meanwhile, limited the Generals to a modest 213 yards of total offense and forced five Spring Hill turnovers. The Generals had success running the ball and rushed for 205 yards on 38 carries, but accomplished little through the air, as quarterbacks Stanley Worstell and Stratten Labrum combined to complete 4-of-6 passes for a mere eight yards.
Tailback Marquetis Howell paced Spring Hill's ground attack by rushing for 132 yards on 11 carries, while fullback Donald Johnson toted the ball 16 times for 88 yards.
Chandler Gillespie recorded 11 tackles and recovered a fumble to lead the Tiger defense. Walker and Hunter Lancaster notched 10 and eight tackles respectively for LMS as well, while Kyrese Harris had three tackles, a sack, and a fumble recovery. Malik Thomison also tallied an interception, while Dagon Stacey and Ethan Petty both recovered fumbles with Stacey returning his 58 yards for a touchdown.
Following an unsuccessful onside kick attempt by Spring Hill at the start of the game, the Tigers benefitted from a favorable exchange of punts and started their second drive at the General 23.
Lewisburg cashed in on the favorable field position, as K.J. Johnson connected with Wilson for a 13-yard touchdown pass to give LMS a 6-0 lead late in the first quarter. Johnson's two-point conversion pass was unsuccessful to keep the deficit at six.
The Tigers stopped Spring Hill on downs at the Lewisburg 35 with the help of a 15-yard chop block penalty, before LMS marched 65 yards to the end zone in just four plays to open up a 14-0 advantage early in the second quarter.
Walker picked up 11 yards on two straight runs, before Gentry burned the General secondary for a 47-yard reception. After Walker scored on a seven-yard TD run, Wilson hauled in the two-point conversion pass from K.J. Johnson.
Spring Hill punted on their next possession before Walker broke loose for a 55-yard touchdown jaunt to stretch the Tigers lead to 20-0 with 3:25 left in the second quarter.
Handing it over
Following an exchange of turnovers, the Generals advanced to the LMS 32 on their final drive of the half, but disaster struck for a Spring Hill a few moments later, as Donald Johnson fumbled a pitch from Worstell before Stacey scooped up the ball and rumbled 58 yards for a TD to stake the Tigers to a 26-0 lead at halftime.
The turnover bug bit the Generals once again at the start of the third quarter when Thomison picked off a Worstell pass at the Lewisburg 33.
LMS quickly advanced down to the Spring Hill six-yard line with the help of a 16-yard run by Walker and a Wilson 48-yard catch before Walker scored on a three-yard TD run four plays later while Terrez Smith tacked on the extra point to make it 33-0 with 2:52 left in the third quarter.
After Harris recovered another General fumble at the Spring Hill 40, the Tigers stretched their lead to 40-0 when Wilcox barreled into the end zone from four yards out on the first play of the fourth quarter.
The Generals spoiled Lewisburg's shutout bid when Dakota Warwick caught a three-yard TD pass from Worstell to trim the deficit to 40-6 midway through the fourth quarter, but Greer raced 41 yards for a touchdown on LMS' ensuing possession to cap the Tigers' 46-6 triumph.