LMS wins Big South
On Saturday night, the Lewisburg Middle School Tigers (8-1) captured their second Big South Conference title in three years when they went on the road and defeated the top seeded Dickson County Dragons 34-22 in the championship game.
Dickson County had beaten LMS 32-14 during the regular season, but the Tigers turned the tables on the Dragons in Saturday's contest and built a 14-0 lead through the first two quarters of play before scoring touchdowns on their first three possessions of the second half to forge a 34-8 advantage early in the fourth period.
Lewisburg then had to fend off a furious rally attempt by Dickson County that saw the Dragons tally two TDs in a span of 1:22 and recover two onside kick attempts.
"We knew all week that it was going to take a full team effort for us to beat them because Dickson County is a good team. They're big, fast, and physical. This team worked hard all week and got it done," said second-year LMS coach Elliot Cook. "It's been a good week for me. I had a new baby girl born on Tuesday, we beat Pulaski on Thursday, and won the championship tonight. This is a good group of kids that has done everything that we've asked them to do."
After being held to a season low 14 points by the Dragons three weeks earlier, the Tigers made amends for their subpar offensive showing and racked up 345 yards from scrimmage overall in Saturday's contest, which included 247 yards rushing on 33 carries.
Tailback Wesley Walker turned in an inspired performance for Lewisburg, as he toted the ball 28 times for 222 yards and four touchdowns.
"He played like a man possessed. Wesley has been the leader all year, but he put the team on his back tonight," said Cook.
Quarterback K.J. Johnson added 23 yards rushing on three carries and completed 2-of-4 passes for 87 yards and a touchdown. Kavares Tears also attempted a pass for LMS, completing it for an 11-yard gain. Devontavious Wilson paced LMS' receiving corps with two catches for 62 yards, while Walker had one reception for 36 yards.
Dickson Co. stats
Dickson County finished with 302 yards of total offense, but committed a pair of costly turnovers. The Dragons did most of their damage on the ground and piled up 285 yards rushing on 31 carries.
Bruising tailback Darian Burns almost single handedly brought Dickson County back and rolled up 288 yards rushing and three touchdowns on 28 carries to go along with a 17-yard reception. Tristen Corlew was the only other Dragon running back to carry the ball and finished with -3 yards on three attempts.
Dickson County was ineffective throwing the ball, as quarterback Colton Harris completed only 1-of-12 passes for 17 yards and tossed one interception.
Hunter Lancaster led the Tiger defense with 10 tackles, while Walker and Kyrese Harris notched nine and seven tackles respectively with Walker recovering a fumble. Chandler Gillespie and Dagon Stacey registered six tackles apiece for LMS as well and Wilson recorded an interception.
Tigers strike first
The Dragons were in the giving mood early on, as Miciah Greer stripped the ball from Burns on the first play of the game before Walker pounced on the pigskin at the Tiger 35.
Lewisburg capitalized on the turnover and put together a six-play, 65-yard scoring drive that was capped by a Walker 27-yard touchdown run. Johnson then found Wilson in the end zone on the two-point conversion attempt to give LMS an 8-0 lead with 5:34 left in the first quarter.
After the Tigers stopped Dickson County on downs at the Lewisburg 39, Walker broke loose for a 45-yard touchdown romp to extend LMS' lead to 14-0 early in the second quarter.
The Tigers had a chance to pad their lead when Smith recovered a squib kick that bounced off a Dickson County lineman, but Lewisburg was unable to cash in on the opportunity and lost the ball on downs at the Dragon 25.
Dickson County then ran out the clock in the first half before Johnson hit Wilson for a 51-yard touchdown strike early in the third quarter to make it 20-0.
The Dragons lost the ball on downs again at the LMS 45 on their ensuing possession before the Tigers marched the remaining 55 yards to pay dirt in four plays to open up a 28-0 advantage midway through the third quarter.
Following a 36-yard catch and run by Walker, which moved the ball down to the Dickson County 19, Lewisburg was penalized five yards for illegal motion. After Johnson scrambled for a seven-yard gain, Walker scored on a 15-yard TD jaunt before running in the two-point conversion.
The Dragons finally got their offense in gear on their ensuing possession and engineered a six-play, 71-yard drive that was punctuated by a 12-yard TD run from Burns. Corlew then hauled in the two-point conversion pass from Colton Harris to trim the deficit to 28-8 with :45 left in the third quarter.
Walker ripped off a 40-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter to push Lewisburg's lead to 34-8, but Dickson County quickly counterpunched and narrowed the gap to 34-16 on a 21-yard TD jaunt by Burns and a two-point conversion catch by Corlew.
Things then began to get interesting when Corlew recovered an onside kick attempt by the Dragons at their own 49. Dickson County converted the special teams gamble into points and narrowed the gap to 34-22 five plays later thanks to a one-yard touchdown plunge by Burns.
After the Dragons recovered another onside kick attempt at their own 48, they quickly advanced to the LMS 7 on six runs by Burns.
Wilson, however, snuffed out Dickson County's comeback hopes by picking off a Colton Wilson pass at the one-yard line before the Tigers ran out the clock to take home the championship.