Meridian Star

September 21, 2013

Raiders sneak past Trojans

By Tony Tsoukalas /
The Meridian Star

MERIDIAN —     Lamar head coach Mac Barnes was not going to be fooled twice. After mistakenly drawing up an unsuccessful pass play on fourth-and-goal from the one-yard line, which would have put away visiting Northeast Lauderdale in the third quarter, Barnes and the Raiders received a similar opportunity late in the fourth quarter.

    Up by two with five minutes remaining in the game and the Raiders once again facing a fourth-and-goal from the one, Barnes kept the ball in the hands of quarterback Davis Harrison. The freshman  did the rest, sweeping to his right past two Trojan defenders into the end zone to solidify a 21-13 win for Lamar.

    “I did some stupid things,” Barnes said. “Down on the goal line in the third quarter when we tried to throw the pass, I thought we had a first down. I had a poor game tonight calling plays and getting done what needed to get done. The players just overcame that.”

    Harrison finished the night completing 12-of-25 passes for 209 yards and a touchdown to go along with his game-clinching score on the ground.

    “I tell you what, I forget Davis is a ninth grader,” Barnes said. “I really stay on him hard. The ball was so wet tonight, and we still had a lot of passing yards. Northeast is a great running football team, and I just feel really fortunate that we won this football game tonight.”

    Following a Lamar fumble on its own nine-yard line, Northeast Lauderdale quarterback Troy Neely put the Trojans on the board first in the second quarter, running in a touchdown on the next play. Neely finished the game with 12 carries for 45 yards and scored both of the Trojans' touchdowns on the day.

    Lamar, however, would answer right back on its following drive. On fourth-and-three from the Trojan 43-yard line, Harrison eluded a Northeast defender before finding receiver Joseph Marcello on a 38-yard strike to the five-yard line. Jackson Turner ran in a touchdown the next play before catching a two-point conversion on a fake field goal as the Raiders took the lead 8-7.

    Turner would come up big again for the Raiders on the following possession, this time on the defensive side as he intercepted a Troy Neely pass at the Lamar 35-yard line.

    The Raiders did not waste any time making the Trojans pay either. On the next play, Harrison found Lee Martin who beat his defender at midfield and raced down the sidelines for a 65-yard touchdown.

    Martin finished the game with three receptions for 101 yards and a touchdown.

    “When we need Lee, he produces,” Barnes said. “He's so good one-on-one. I don't get him the ball much right now because he does so much for us on defense as well.

    “But, it wasn't one individual that won the game for us, it was the whole team.”

    Sophomore Sam Vaughn led the Raiders with 60 yards on 10 carries and senior Dylan Taylor was close behind with 17 carries for 57 yards. Sophomore running back Willie Campbell led the Trojans with 121 yards on 12 carries. Senior running back Stevie Sanders rushed for 55 yards on nine carries for Northeast coming back from a strained MCL.

    Lamar (4-1) will begin district play next week when they travel to Copiah Academy. Northeast (3-2) will host Forest.