By Tony Tsoukalas / email@example.com
The Meridian Star
Welcome to Lamar, Jackson Turner.
The senior transfer from Enterprise wasted no time introducing himself to Raiders fans Friday night, as he returned an interception for a touchdown on the sixth play of the game to help Lamar take down Starkville Academy 35-3.
“They threw it right at me,” Turner said. “Being new to the school, it was really exciting. I can't even remember what I was thinking, but it was the greatest feeling ever.”
Turner, who had just recently made the switch to cornerback in replacement of injured junior Brett Shaffer, also helped the Raiders on offense, carrying the ball four times for 32 yards and hauling in an eight-yard reception.
“I'm real proud of him,” head coach Mac Barnes said. “That's the first time he's played corner all year, maybe ever. For him to step in and get a touchdown early, it sets the tempo of the game.”
After allowing Starkville to drive the length of the field during the next possession, the Raiders defense would show up again, recovering a fumble on third-and-goal from the five-yard line.
“That was huge,” Barnes said. “If they had answered right back, that would have been big for them.”
Lamar would make the Volunteers pay four plays later, as Lee Martin took the snap on a fourth-and-goal from one-yard line and darted through a hole in the right side of the line for a touchdown to make the score 14-0.
On the next possession, senior Jesse Seale picked up where his teammates left off, intercepting a pass and returning it to the eight-yard line. Seale's interception would lead to an eventual touchdown, as Dylan Taylor punched in a one-yard score to give Lamar a commanding 21-0 lead. Turner took the ball nine times for 48 yards in the game.
Sophomore Sam Vaughn also had a big night for the Raiders, scoring the team's final two touchdowns while rushing for 24 yards on the ground. Junior receiver Burns Mayfield led the Raiders in receiving with two catches for 56 yards, while senior Lee Martin tallied two catches for 24 yards as well. Martin also accounted for 21 yards and a touchdown on the ground.
The Raiders were forced to turn to freshman Davis Harrison at quarterback due to the injury to Shaffer. The freshman showed plenty of promise in his first game, connecting on two passes over 25 yards en route to completing 11 of 22 passes for 116 yards and an interception.
“I was nervous all day,” Harrison said of his first start. “After the first play, it got a lot better for me. The defense was huge for me too. They played very well tonight.”
Lamar (1-0) will travel to Winston Academy next week. Last season the Raiders defeated the Patriots 57-27.
“We did some good things tonight,” Barnes said. “We obviously have a lot of things to work on for next week, but I'm pleased with the start against a good solid program. We are one game down, and that's about where we are right now.”