The LCMS eighth grade football team pulled out an impressive 22-14 victory over neighboring rival Dawson County when the Indians and the Tigers took to the field at the LCMS stadium on Thursday, Sept. 19.
The Indians looked like they might have their hands full when the Tigers methodically drove down the field for the game’s first touchdown on the opening drive of the contest.
Dawson’s drive drained almost the entire first quarter.
The Tigers were unable to convert on the ensuing two-point try and led the Indians 6-0 headed to the second quarter of play.
The Indians answered back on the their first drive of the game when LCMS running back Will Wood plowed his way into the end zone for an Indians’ touchdown to cap a solid drive. The Indians converted their two-point try to take an 8-6 lead with 2:26 left before halftime.
LCMS head coach Darren Glenn opted to let seventh grade quarterback Cal Faulkner lead the opening drive, a decision he felt might have disrupted Dawson’s defensive game plan.
“Cal [Faulkner] started the game, playing the first and third quarters, and certainly made a difference,” said Glenn. “I thought they would have a tough time defending Cal as a running and throwing quarterback after preparing to stop Will [Wood] all week.”
Glenn was proud of the unselfishness that eighth grade quarterback Harper Davenport showed, as Davenport told Glenn he’d play wherever the coach wanted him to if it would help the team win.
“Really, that’s why we won,” Glenn said. “Our players are unselfish and understand what it takes to win. I believe we can play against anyone with attitudes like his [Davenport].”
The Indians’ defense came up huge on the first play of Dawson’s ensuing drive when defensive back Bradley Hicks plucked a Tigers’ pass out of the air for an interception, giving the ball back to Lumpkin deep in Dawson territory.
“Coach Matthews and Coach Adams do a great job calling the defense,” Glenn said. “This was a good football team we played and the defense proved they were up for the challenge.”
Wood once again showed off his powerful running style for the Indians and picked up 36 yards on two carries, including a 35-yard touchdown run, to extend Lumpkin’s advantage over the Tigers to 14-6.
“Will [Wood] is a great competitor in every thing he does,” Glenn said. “He carries himself quietly, works hard on and off the field and it shows. With any good running back there is not a lot to coach, he pretty much lets his legs take him where he needs to go.”
The Indians took the 14-6 lead into the halftime break.
The Indians received the opening kickoff of the second half, and drove the ball 29 yards behind Wood’s legs before stalling out and being forced to punt the ball.
However, the Indians’ defense quickly got the ball back in the offense’s hands when Peyton Wood was able to pounce on a ball stripped from the Dawson County running back’s hands for a fumble recovery and another Tigers turnover.
The huge defensive play put the Indians in stellar field position at the Dawson County seven-yard-line. Faulkner dropped back, looked right then left before firing a bullet pass to a wide open Indian receiver in the end zone. Faulkner then completed a pass to Hicks for the two-point conversion, giving the Indians a 22-6 lead with 4:45 left in the third quarter.
“The offensive calls from Coach Stroud and Coach Grizzle were great all night,” Glenn said.
The Tigers answered back midway through the fourth quarter with a 57-yard drive that ended with a two-yard touchdown run to cut the Indians’ lead to 22-14 after a successful two-point conversion.
The Indians tried to kill the clock after the Dawson score by running the ball, but were forced to punt after a bobbled snap moved them backward.
The Tigers wouldn’t have the ball for long, however, as Davenport read the quarterback and made a sensational interception on the Dawson’s first play of the drive.
The third turnover of the game caused by the Lumpkin defense gave the Indians the ball at the Dawson 42-yard-line.
Once again the Indians tried to burn clock with running plays, but the Tigers wouldn’t give an inch and forced a three-and-out with 2:50 remaining in the game.
The Tigers tried to get something going in the final minutes of the game, but a quarterback sack by Gerald Walker on third-and-10 effectively ended the Tigers’ hopes of a comeback.
“Gerald is a special player, there’s no doubt,” Glenn said. “He came come up to the eighth grade team and make a difference on every play. But, we have a lot of players like that.”
The final two plays of the game amounted to the Indians lining up in victory formation and taking two quarterback kneels before the final buzzer sounded.
Lumpkin defeated Dawson 22-14, improving the team’s 2019 record to 3-1.
Glenn was impressed with his team’s performance and also credited the large turnout of fan support for helping the Indians earn the victory.
After the eighth grade game concluded, the seventh grade Indians football team took to the gridiron to face off with the Tigers. The game proved to be all Lumpkin, as the Indians cruised to a 44-8 win.
Faulkner went 2-for-3 through the air for 32 yards and threw one touchdown pass. The young star also picked up 48 yards on the ground and scored a touchdown in the game.
Indian running back Walker ran for 51 yards and scored a two-point conversion, Lumpkin wide receiver A.J. Scott hauled in two passes for 32 yards and a touchdown and running back Nolan Matthews ran for 62 yards and a touchdown.
Unselfish play key:
Glenn was thrilled to have both the eighth and seventh grade teams pick up victories against their rival, crediting his players’ unselfish attitudes.
“Both teams have had success,” Glenn said. “Having strong work ethics and not caring who gets the glory but rather looking deeper and seeing what it takes to be a real winner, that’s when this program will take off. As these players grow into one team in the coming years, I think the future will be bright.”
The LCMS Indians football teams will get back into action when they travel to White County to take on the Warriors tomorrow, Sept. 26. Kickoff is set for 5 p.m.