On a 5-yard carry by Daulton Nelson, Lamar took a 30-0 lead against Presbyterian Christian School with eight minutes remaining in the third quarter.
Then things got a little dicey.
PCS switched formations on offense, often letting their two best athletes — Markeys Crosby and Ricco Dorsey — take the ball off direct snaps, and the Raiders’ defense had trouble adjusting to the switch. The Bobcats began scoring on nearly every drive, and what looked to be an easy win for Lamar ended up becoming a shootout.
But the Raiders did just enough on offense to keep the Bobcats at bay and escaped with a 51-43 win in their home opener.
“We had control of the ball game, then all of a sudden they went to that formation and brought those two guys in that are new to them,” Lamar head coach Mac Barnes said. “One was one of the fastest guys in South Carolina (last year), and the other one was one of the best backs in Mississippi last year. They both just alternated and ran right at us with big bodies in front, and we’re not really big on defense. We just had a hard time stopping them. We scored enough points to win, but it was a tough ball game.”
Crosby finished with 128 yards on 18 carries, while Dorsey had 177 yards on just 14 rushes. The Bobcats tallied 326 total rushing yards but only managed 13 yards through the air on 2 of 8 passing.
Lamar, meanwhile, made things happen mostly through the air, as quarterback Will Morris went 15-for-22 for 302 yards and three touchdowns. Jacob Partridge was the Raiders’ leading receiver, as he finished with 220 yards and three touchdowns on 10 catches, often using his athleticism to juke Bobcat defenders and fight for yards after the catch.
The Raiders scored first when Ben Bryan blocked a punt for a safety at the 10:17 mark in the first quarter, and Partridge scored his first touchdown with eight minutes to go in the second quarter on a 75-yard pass from Morris. Partridge scored again with 1:13 left in the first half on a 5-yard touchdown reception, and Lamar took a 16-0 lead at the break.
In the third quarter, Morris found Partridge on a 46-yard pass at the 11-minute mark to put Lamar ahead 23-0, and Nelson’s 5-yard run at the eight-minute mark made it 30-0 Raiders. PCS finally got on the board on its ensuing possession when Dorsey ran it in from 35 yards out with 7:13 remaining in the third.
The Bobcats recovered the onside kick and scored again when Crosby found the end zone on a 49-yard run. But Lamar answered with a scoring drive capped off by a 2-yard touchdown run by Brandrick Thomas, and the Raiders led 37-13 at the end of the third.
PCS scored three more times in the fourth quarter off two runs by Dorsey and another run by Crosby, but Thomas scored on a 4-yard carry and Nelson scored on a 2-yard run to keep the Bobcats from ever taking the lead.
Nelson finished with 48 yards on 15 carries, and Thomas had 93 yards on 13 rushes. The Raiders finished with 139 yards rushing as a team.
“We did some good things (on offense),” Barnes said. “Jacob Partridge is really good, and Brandrick Thomas gave us a real lift running the football, but we’re not executing well enough in our running game. We have to be a lot better. We had too many plays that were there that we didn’t make.”
Lamar (2-1) will travel to Leake Academy next week.