Warner stars in FMS comeback over LMS
Forrest Middle School and Lewisburg Middle School met in an intra-county rivalry Thursday night in Chapel Hill and after trailing early, the Rockets came back for a big 32-18 win.
“It was a great game, it was fun and that’s what you play for, games like that,” FMS coach Corey Searcy said. “It showed a lot of character by our guys and more than anything, it shows what our workout program is all about---I think that’s what won the game.”
Cason Warner had a huge night for the Rockets, rushing for 120 yards and three touchdowns with two scores coming in the pivotal fourth quarter.
LMS jumped out to early 12-0 lead, scoring on their first two possessions of the game on a pair of touchdown runs by Lamarion Pierce in what looked like a Tiger romp over the Rockets.
FMS came back with an 80-yard scoring drive that began late in the first quarter and was capped off by Warner’s first rushing TD of the contest from four yards out.
Warner hauled in the 2-point conversion pass from quarterback Hunter Bennett, who also had a bight night for the Rockets, going 6-for-9 and a touchdown in an error free effort.
Lewisburg’s downfall was turning the ball over five times and the first one came after the initial FMS score when Mikey Stoddard recovered a Tigers’ fumble at the Forrest 7-yard to squelch an LMS scoring drive with 2:05 remaining in the first half.
Ten plays later, Bennett found Christian Hammond for a 21-yard touchdown and then the same duo hooked up on a 2-point conversion to give the Rockets a 14-12 lead.
Warner came up with an interception on the next LMS offensive play and the first half ended with the Rockets holding a two-point lead.
FMS received the second half kickoff and LMS got a much-needed turnover when JJ Rodriguez recovered a Forrest fumble at the Rockets’ 44-yard line.
The Tigers marched down the field and took an 18-16 lead on a Bryson Hammons one-yard plunge, but John Dippold intercepted the two-point conversion pass attempt with 1:47 remaining in the third period.
Dippold returned the ensuing kickoff to the LMS 40-yard and the Rockets drove to the LMS 20-yard line where they faced a fourth-and-two play.
Warner took the handoff from Bennett and broke free for a touchdown and Tayton Swift added the two-point conversion run to make it a 24-18 contest with 7:08 left in the game.
On the ensuing kickoff, LMS fumbled again and Micah McClendon recovered the ball at the Forrest 49-yard line.
The Rockets turned it over on downs and the Tigers drove down the field until Jamie McDaniel came up with the play of the game when he snagged an interception to give the Rockets the ball back with 3:51 remaining in the game.
“On the sideline we were trying to figure what to do with him because he was in a miss-match, but the thing about Jamie is he is a hard worker, he is not going to give up and he fought to the end,” Searcy said.
“We are going to have confidence in him and we did and he made a big play for us.”
Forrest fed the ball to Warner on the ground and the runs ate up the clock and ended with Warner scoring on a breakaway 38-yard run with 48 seconds remaining in the game.
“The kid (Warner) has great character and he asked ‘coach give me the ball’ and I told the offensive line that we are going to live and die with you all and they did the job tonight,” Searcy said.
Bennett threw to Hammonds for the 2-point conversion and then Hammonds ended the game in style when he picked off a Lewisburg pass to clinch the win.
“It comes back down to them,” Searcy said. “I’m just driving the car, they are making the plays.”
The Rockets (7-1) have one more task at hand as they face Fayetteville in the Duck River Valley Conference game on Monday at Fayetteville with kickoff scheduled for 6:30 p.m.
“This win will give us some confidence because they (LMS) are a very athletic team and so is Fayetteville,” Searcy said. “We can’t match the speed at practice, so I think this is a big confidence booster for us and will carry us over the hump.”
LMS 12 0 6 0-18
FMS 0 16 0 16-32
LMS-Lamarion Pierce 15-yard run, PAT NG, 4:58
LMS-Pierce 8-yard run, PAT NG
FMS-Cason Warner 4-yard run, Warner 2-pt. pass from Hunter Bennett, 4:35
FMS-Christian Hammond 21-pass from Bennett, Hammond 2-pt. pass from Bennett, 0:16
LMS-Bryson Hammonds 1-yard run, PAT pass intercepted, 1:47
FMS-Warner 20-yard run, Tayton Swift 2-pt. run, 7:08
FMS-Warner 38-yard run, John Dippold 2-pt pass from Bennett, 0:48
Total Yards-LMS 204, FMS 292
Rushing-LMS 76, FMS 208
Passing-128, FMS 84
Turnovers-LMS 5, FMS 1
Penalties-LMS 7-65, FMS 3-30
Rushing-Cason Warner 19-120-3TD, John Dippold 15-57, Tayton Swift 5-26, Hunter Bennett 1-5
Passing-Hunter Bennett 6-9-TD, John Dippold 1-1-0
Receiving-John Dippold 4-51, Christian Hammond 2-33-TD, Cason Warner 1-3, Hunter Bennett 1-0
Tackles-John Dippold 7 (INT), Brayden Jones 5, Hunter Bennett 3, Braden Bowyer 3, Cason Warner 3 (INT), Christian Hammond 2 (INT), Layne Strasser 2, Tayton Swift 2, Jamie McDaniel 1 (INT), Micah McClendon (FUM REC), Mikey Stoddard (FUM REC)