LMS Tigers score first win for homecomin

Wednesday, September 28, 2016
A'Ky Howard (4) takes off with the ball on a quarterback keeper while Christian Stacey (11) and (18) Hayden Sheppard provide the lead blocking for the Tigers, who won their first game of the year on Homecoming Thursday night. Tribune photos by Mike Inglsbee

The Lewisburg Middle School Tigers have struggled this season to put together a complete ball game and the result has been a winless 2016 campaign, but LMS had a shot to remove the goose egg with one win E.A. Cox traveling to Preston Hopkins Field Thursday night for Homecoming.

The two teams battled back and forth and the Tigers needed overtime plus a crucial stop on a two-point conversion to finally remove the proverbial monkey off its back and claim a 24-22 win over the Columbia squad.

Tight focus

"I told the boys all year that we were a better team than what our record showed," LMS coach Elliot Cook said. "We can't change the past, just focus on this week and let's be 1-0 this week."

"Defensively we played more aggressively and offensively we limited our mistakes," Cook added. "I feel like we have been our own worst enemy most of the year and for a lot of our kids this is their first varsity experience and they are finally getting adjusted to the speed of the game at this level."

Cook adjusted his scheme and moved eighth grader A'Ky Howard to the quarterback position and the move paid heavy dividends as Howard scored the Tigers first touchdown before passing for one more.

"We put that package in last week," Cook stated. "We just needed another way to get the ball in his hands. He has been one of our best play makers this season and with him getting the ball at quarterback instead of handing or throwing it to him it gives us an extra blocker."

LMS fumbled on the second play of the contest and the Cougars capitalized with Keelan Hill catching a 15-yard pass for the early 8-0 lead.

LMS linebacker Joseph Gold (49) approaches the E.A. Cox offensive line, waiting for the snap and a chance to stop the Cougars in the backfield.

Scoring response

The Tigers quickly answered with a 25-yard reverse run from Silas Hurt to set up a 48-yard touchdown run on a Howard quarterback keeper.

"I wouldn't have scored without my offensive line," Howard emphasized. "My offensive line stood for me, I had to scramble a little bit but that was OK, I'm just really proud of my team tonight."

After the Cougars regained the lead with another Hill touchdown pass on fourth-and-goal with five minutes left in the half, E.A. Cox suffered from another dose of Howard, who ran three times for 23 yards before throwing a 15-yard touchdown pass to J.W. Beasley for the 16-16 tie after a Devonta Davis two-point conversion.

"At halftime we told them that it was a tie game and we had to finish it," Cook said. "I told them whichever team was the most physical for the last two quarters would win the game."

The two squads came out in the second half and refused to give an inch and despite several Tiger scoring threats the game would ultimately head to overtime to determine the outcome.

The home team scored first on a Christian Stacey three-yard quarterback keeper and Kaden Whitson score the crucial two-point conversion for the 24-16 lead.

The Tiger defense came up huge after the Cougars scored on the first play from scrimmage on a McCartney to Kennard touchdown pass, but the two-point conversion was no good as a host of defenders stopped the Cougar runner at the one-yard line to preserve the Tigers first win of the season.