High School Sports

Lamar County blanks Northeast

BARNESVILLE -- Lance Austin has tried over and over to connect on a long passing play with twin brother Lawrence Austin this season.

For one reason or another, the connection hadn’t happened, which might be a little bit of a surprise because passing plays are often wide open with defenses stacking the box to stop Lamar County’s wing-T running attack.

The brothers, however, hooked up Friday in a big way, with quarterback Lance Austin connecting with his fullback brother on an 86-yard touchdown completion in the second quarter of the Trojans’ GHSA Region 4-AA game against Northeast at Trojan Field.

The sixth-ranked Trojans (4-0-1, 2-0) hit on two other long touchdowns in the second quarter to roll to a 36-0 win over previously unbeaten Northeast.

“We didn’t do a good job stopping their run, and that just set us up for the pass,” Northeast head coach Bruce Mullen said. “They have a very good and very well-coached football team. The big plays really hurt us.”

Lamar County scored on a 55-yard pass from Lance Austin to Quay Searcy and on a 50-yard run by Antwaan Wallace during a 23-point second quarter. Lance Austin completed 3-of-5 passes for 140 yards in the game.

The Trojans averaged 6.7 yards on 39 carries, which more than set up the Raiders’ defense for the open passing plays.

“The coaches emphasize every week that we just have to hit those plays,” Lance Austin said. “It makes me nervous because I know the pressure is on me to hit those throws. I know our receivers will make the catch.”

The Trojans had another explosive offensive night, scoring 35 or more points for the third time. They scored 18 total points in a win over Taylor County and a tie with Spalding, but head coach Franklin Stephens believes the team is building more consistency with each game.

“We want to be able to convert our second-and-shorts and third-and-shorts, and then also hit our big plays,” Stephens said.

“We had some big plays built into the game plan (Friday). ... Our kids did a good job controlling the line of scrimmage, as well as blocking on the perimeter. The last couple of weeks, we’ve been a more perimeter-oriented team, but (Friday), we could get more into our offense with traps and sweeps.”

The Lamar County defense pitched its second consecutive shutout, and the Trojans have allowed 10 total points in four games. They gave up 30 against Eagle’s Landing, but most of those scores came after the game was decided.

The Trojans appear headed for a de-facto region championship game against Bleckley County on Oct. 26 in Barnesville. Both teams remain unbeaten in region, and neither has been tested thus far.

Northeast entered the game undefeated, but the Raiders managed just 144 yards of offense, with 49 coming on a tipped pass early in the game. The Raiders only had 20 yards of offense in the second half.

“We came in a little banged up, but we just have to go back to work and try to improve,” Mullen said.