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Bears to battle Raiders for first place

The start of district for Little Cypress Mauriceville began a three game winning streak. This week the Bears will play to extend their positive run and grab the undisputed lead in the district standings.

Last week Little Cypress Mauriceville went to Splendora and put a 35-7 whipping on the Wildcats. The victory marked the most points by the Bears since their season opener against Hardin-Jefferson and matched the fewest points allowed in a game this season also against the Hawks.

LCM Coach Eric Peevey said the win was a team effort especially by the Bears' offense. "Offensively we did really well. Dylan Payne quarterbacked for three quarters before we let Evan Worster quarterback the last quarter. Dylan dealing with some injuries he had did a great job as we limited his runs to one time maybe two counting a quarterback sneak," Peevey indicated.

Jonah Fuller and J'Lynn Morris both had good games running the football. Khayden Reed made some big catches of passes for the Bears. Peevey responded, "We were able to run our base offense and do a really good job."

Peevey praised the LCM special teams. "Kicker Danyon Craft did a fantastic job on kickoffs pinning the Wildcats a couple times. The punts by Parker Freeman went well. Our Bears tackled well on special teams," Peevey pointed out.

The defense was not excluded in being patted on the back. Peevey praised, "I was really proud after we gave up an opening drive for a touchdown our defense caused three turnovers and made a couple of fourth down stops including one when Splendora had a first and goal at the two yard line and we stopped them. I feel like other than those two drives our defense played really well."

Sixteen Bears met with LCM trainer Sheri Hoffpauir after the win over Livingston the week before. Peevey replied, "We had a lot of different guys playing during the game that don't normally get to play because of some injuries. I'm proud of the way the Bears played and it locked us in the playoffs for the third straight year, so I feel like it was a really big win for us considering the way we started the beginning of the year and as young of a team as we are."

The injury list is much smaller this week for Little Cypress Mauriceville. Many of the Bears are back and hopefully we be available for the game this Friday. One starter on defense is being checked for concussion protocol who Coach Peevey wanted to withhold his name until tests confirm his status.

Both Little Cypress Mauriceville and Lumberton enter their contest this Friday with 3-0 records in district. The winner between the two will have a great chance to be the district champions with one game remaining next week.

Lumberton the preseason favorite in District 10-4A Division I began the season with three straight losses. The Raiders have won their last five games averaging almost fifty points a game.

The Spread Offense of the Raiders is now clicking on all cylinders as indicated by the points they put on the board the last five games. Lumberton truly tries to spread the field with four receivers and one running back.

The Raider offense is headed by three-year starter at quarterback Lucas Powell. "He's an unbelievable quarterback, an unbelievable high school athlete, and he's just grown up so much that he's turned into a heck of a player. Powell is hard to tackle, he can throw it about 65 yards, throws it really well, and has full command of his offense," Peevey evaluated.

The Lumberton coaches may call the plays for each snap. It is evident watching Powell that he makes good decisions in modifying things occasionally on the fly according to Peevey.

The return of running back Jaddon Ward has boosted the Raider offense back to the same production it had the last two years. Ward is a big reason for the Lumberton improvement during their last five games which is when he played his first game this season.

Ward has been called a round mound touchdown because of his 260 pound build and his relatively short stature. Last year Ward rushed for almost fifteen hundred yards and 12 touchdowns.

Peevey described, "Jaddon is as close to looking like Jerome Bettis as I have ever seen. He looks about 5-7, 260. He is hard to bring down and hard to tackle. He is going to run the ball right up the middle and dare you to tackle him. When the Raiders get in short yardage they give it to him and it's hard to bring him down, and if you bring too many guys in the box the quarterback will pull it and run around the edge."

There are several good Raider receivers to whom Powell can throw the football. Slot receiver Trey Kersh had almost a thousand yards receiving last season with 11 touchdowns and may be the best slot receiver in this area. Kersh is also a dangerous kick return man as evident by the two punts he took back for touchdowns last week for Lumberton.

With Powell, Ward, and Kersh the Raider offense is a three-headed monster. "Between those three you've got to pick and choose because you can't stop all three. The Raiders are a really good football team and their offense is the head of that juggernaut," Peevey emphasized.

A strong defense has really led to Lumberton's success the last two seasons. The offense may get most of the publicity, but the Raider defense shuts down opponents' offenses.

The defensive front of the Raiders will be the best LCM has faced all year. On the outside at end is senior Brock Jackson who is big, tall, fast, tough, and physical. A three-year starter at the other defensive end Spencer Grayden is bigger than Jackson and just as tough.

Peevey analyzed, "The Raiders' defensive front does a really good job being able to allow their defense to spread the field with opponents. Most teams will put eight to nine guys in the box to stop our run, but Lumberton can put six in there because their six guys are bigger than most team's eight."

Lumberton is also leading the district in turnover ratio. The Raiders are sound on defense.

First place in the district will be on the line come Friday night between Little Cypress Mauriceville and Lumberton. "It's a great opportunity any time that you have your own destiny in your hands. We are locked in to make the playoffs and now we're playing for a gold football. I think if you had asked everybody at the beginning of the year if they thought LCM had a chance of doing that ninety percent of people would have told you no. Our kids have grown up unbelievably, they're playing at a high level, and they're playing for each other right now. To have a chance to play for a district championship in your home stadium you can't ask for any more than that," Peevey concluded.

The battle for first place between the Little Cypress Mauriceville Bears and the Lumberton Raiders will take place at Battlin' Bear Stadium. The kick off will be at 7:30 on Friday Night.

 

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