|This one’s for all the marbles. |
Lake Road and South Fulton will both vie for the Obion County School System’s jayvee football championship Saturday at 6 p.m. in the 12th annual Rebel Bowl at Obion County Central High School.
And if the Devils’ Aug. 23 16-0 win over the Generals is any indication, don’t expect this one to be decided by halftime.
“We took advantage of a short field in that game,” South Fulton head coach Jeremy McFarland said. “Their punter shanked one and we ran three plays for a touchdown and then on their next possession, there was a bad snap to the punter which let us start out at their 19-yard line.
“I know at that point early in the season, some fundamentals were lacking for both teams, so we’re not really looking at what they did in that game as much as we are evaluating ourselves when we look at that film.”
Lake Road head coach Shawn Johnson shares the sentiment that his special teams unit helped the Red Devils (6-1, 4-0 in county) procure the victory.
“I’m hoping we can be a bit better on special teams,” Johnson told The Messenger. “We have to keep them away from big plays too because those hurt us in our earlier game against them.
“Other than that, I think we controlled the line of scrimmage OK and we have to build upon that.”
Injuries have plucked one key performer from each team, setting up a showdown that features a few changes in the respective offensive schemes.
For instance, Lake Road (3-4, 3-1 in county play) lost starting quarterback Colton Woodward during the team’s 34-24 loss to Three Oaks due to a fractured elbow.
That injury has forced Johnson to shuffle former wide receiver Mason McGrew into the quarterback position.
McGrew has thrived with 242 rushing yards on 30 carries at his new position using a variation of bootlegs and sweeps for gains.
“He’s extremely versatile and is the type of player that can be put anywhere on the field and he will catch on pretty quick,” Johnson said of his new QB.
Aside from McGrew, LR possesses a pair of offensive threats in the backfield.
Tailback Tanner Cary is described by his coach as a “little man with a big heart who doesn’t know when to quit.”
Cary has stepped up as the team’s leader on and off the field with 228 yards on 40 carries during the 2007 campaign.
Fellow Generals’ running back Jacob Van Cleave also is expected to have his number called Saturday night as the eighth-grader boasts of 156 yards on 19 carries this year.
Defensively, Lake Road’s resident headhunter Josh Quinton leads the team with 93 tackles.
Speedy nose guard Chris Donaldson is second on the team with 47 takedowns with Cary’s 31 stops and one interception third on the defensive charts. Dillion Hamil is fourth on the team with 29 tackles from the outside linebacker position.
Meanwhile in the border city, South Fulton — which suffered its first loss of the season Tuesday night at Fulton County — will take to the field without Montre Lewis. The eighth-grade tailback had accumulated 354 yards on 30 carries in just two and a half games prior to having his foot broken in SF’s third game.
Taking his spot is younger sibling Khiry Lewis, who has stepped in at the tailback position in an attempt to fill his “big” brother’s cleats.
“Khiry is a little undersized, but he’s got good hands and quick feet and if he can find a crease in the defense, he will turn something little into something big,” McFarland boasted.
The younger Lewis has ran for nine touchdowns and 312 yards on 68 carries to pace the retooled Big Red offense.
Another offensive threat for the Redmen is quarterback Jacquay Garmon. The seventh-grade signal caller is passing at a clip of 21-for-41 with 296 yards and five touchdowns. Garmon has been picked just once in seven games.
His favorite receiving targets have been Shaquan Brown and J.P. Fowler.
Brown is averaging just over 20 yards per catch with five aerials brought down and 113 yards with Fowler accounting for 86 yards on seven catches.
Brown is best described as a speedster who can take the ball the distance anytime a pass is thrown his way while Fowler is a gritty receiver who runs good routes and finds a way to get open and keep the chains moving.
On defense, Cody Neece is the team’s anchor with an even 50 stops on the year.
Linebacker Kendall Greer is second on the tackle chart with 27 takedowns with Fowler third with 21.
History will be on neither team’s side as both teams hold one victory over the other in Rebel Bowl action. South Fulton defeated Lake Road 30-22 in the last OCSS title game between the two teams in 2001. The Generals’ victory in the title game over SF came in 1999 by a score of 26-6.
Furthermore, 15 Rebel Bowl berths have been secured over the course of the game’s history between the two adversaries with Lake Road holding a 5-4 record in nine previous appearances in the county’s “big game.”
Meanwhile, South Fulton has advanced to the OCSS title game now in three of the last four years (five times overall) with a 1-3 overall record in the game and the jury still out on Saturday’s outcome.
Sports reporter Kenneth Coker can be contacted by e-mail at email@example.com.