The LCMS eighth grade football team pulled out an impressive 41-24 victory over rival White County and secured itself a spot in the playoffs when the two teams squared off at the stadium at White County Middle School on Thursday, Sept. 26.
LCMS running backs Will Wood and Jonathan Castillo ran wild against the Warriors and were the difference makers in the Indians’ win.
Wood scored the first touchdown of the game when he rumbled his way to a 21-yard touchdown on the Indians’ second possession.
The drive was kept alive several plays earlier when Wood picked up 11 yards with a fake punt run on fourth-and-six at Lumpkin’s own 42-yard-line. After a nice pass from Cal Faulkner to Bradley Hicks moved the ball to the Warriors’ 29-yard-line, Wood powered his way to another first down on a fourth-and-three play with a great second effort after being stood up by the White County defense just past the line of scrimmage. Two plays later, Wood broke free from the White County defense and scored from 21 yards out. Wood then converted the two-point try to give Lumpkin an 8-0 advantage with 6:19 left in the first half.
“Will Wood is a special player and someone you have to watch every play if you are trying to defend him,” said LCMS head football coach Darren Glenn. “His work ethic and attitude are part of what makes him so special. He understands and is willing to do what it takes to win.”
The Indians’ defense came up big on the Warriors’ ensuing drive and forced White County to punt.
However, on the first play of the Indians’ next drive the Warriors picked off a pass and ran it into the end zone to tie the game at 8-8 with 3:41 left in the first half.
Lumpkin answered right back just over a minute later with a 79-yard drive that ended when Castillo weaved his way through the White County defense and into the end zone for a 36-yard touchdown run. After an unsuccessful two-point conversion run by Wood, the Indians held a 14-8 lead over the Warriors with 2:22 left in the half.
White County didn’t let the Lumpkin touchdown get them down and mounted a 52-yard drive that was capped off by a one-yard touchdown run on a quarterback keeper with 30 seconds remaining until halftime. The Warriors converted on the two-point attempt to take the lead for the first time in the contest at 16-14.
It seemed that the Indians would be trailing at halftime until Wood lowered his shoulder and dropped the boom on a White County defender to break free for a 90-yard kickoff return for a touchdown on the ensuing kickoff.
Wood crossed the goal line with 16.4 seconds left in the half.
Castillo added two-points with a strong run and Lumpkin led 22-16 at halftime.
The Indians extended their lead to 28-16 on the opening drive of the second half. Lumpkin went 59 yards on six plays during the possession. The drive was completed when Castillo scored his second touchdown of the game, this time from 17 yards out.
The Indians’ defense continued to stand strong against the ground and aerial attack of the Warriors and forced White County to punt after a three-and-out to get the ball back into the hands of their offense.
Lumpkin’s offense took advantage of the solid defense and went 73 yards on three plays to take a 34-16 advantage.
Faulkner, who had been attacking the edges of the Warriors’ defense in the early going of the game, opted to run through the middle of the White County defense and found a hole that allowed him to speed his way to a 65-yard touchdown run on the quarterback keeper. Faulkner’s score upped the Indians’ lead to 34-16 with 2:12 left in the third quarter.
Midway through the fourth quarter the Warriors cut the Lumpkin lead to 34-22 when they connected on a 21-yard touchdown reception with 6:29 left in the game. White County were successful with the two-point conversion to further cut into the Indians’ advantage at 34-24.
However, two minutes later the Indians’ defense came up big when Wood sacked the Warriors’ quarterback, forced a fumble, scooped it up and scored. The score marked the third touchdown for Wood in the game and extended the Indians’ lead to 40-24. Marcus Remillard booted the extra point through the uprights to give Lumpkin a 41-24 with 4:12 left on the clock.
The Indians would go on to win the game by the final score of 41-24.
The victory secured the Indians a spot in the Mountain League Playoffs and improved their overall record to 4-1 on the season.
Despite the sensational day by his running backs, Glenn believes that the offensive line will need to play better in the upcoming weeks if the Indians are to make a strong push in the postseason.
“To be honest, they will need to play better for us in order to beat some of the people we will face over the next week or so and into the playoffs,” Glenn said. “The backs ran hard against White, getting a lot of yards on their own. But, I know our line will step up and do what it takes for us to win.”
Glenn also expressed his pride in the team effort of his players, their parents, LCMS students and the coaching staff for securing a spot in the playoffs.
“I’m proud of the team, our students, our teachers and really our entire middle school,” Glenn said. “They have come together and had incredible team spirit. Mr. Smith and Mr. Anderson bring the chorus and band which adds a lot to the game atmosphere. Our teachers make signs for the games, cheer on our players and just create a great place to play football. I am happy everyone is doing so well and representing the middle school in such high fashion.”
The LCMS seventh grade football team remained undefeated on the season when the Indians shutout White County 34-0 in the second game of the day between the Indians and the Warriors.
Seventh grade quarterback Faulkner put up big numbers for Lumpkin in the victory, picking up 106 yards and a touchdown on the ground, passing for 48 yards and scoring a 49-yard touchdown on a punt return.
LCMS running back Gerald Walker also had a big night against the Warriors, rushing for 117 yards and two touchdowns.
AJ Scott showed off his dual threat ability with 48 yards receiving, 53 yards rushing and a touchdown in the game.
“All three played a great game and the offensive and defensive line played well,” Glenn said. “It’s hard to stop this seventh grade team. When you work on stopping Faulkner, you have Gerald. When you stop Gerald then you have the dual threat of Scott as a receiver and running back, as well as Trent Mobley. I’m just glad they are not on the opposing team. This is a great team with a bright future.”
The LCMS eighth grade football team will be back in action when they take to the gridiron at the LCMS stadium to take on the Union County Panthers in the team’s final regular season game of the 2019 season tomorrow, Oct. 3. Kickoff is set for 5 p.m.
The LCMS seventh grade team will play immediately following the conclusion of the eighth grade game.