2011-10-27 / Sports

Lexington MS “Hybrid” Football!

by Mark Strain

Above, 8th Grader Alberto Lara on an interception. Below, 7th Grader Caleb Parkerson with the carry. 
PHOTOS BY MARK STRAIN. Above, 8th Grader Alberto Lara on an interception. Below, 7th Grader Caleb Parkerson with the carry. PHOTOS BY MARK STRAIN. The Lexington Middle School Eagles traveled to Thorndale Thursday October, 20, to take on the Bulldogs on their home turf. Different for this game was the fact that Thorndale Middle School was unable to field separate 7th and 8th grade teams, so the middle school boys were combined for one winner-take-all battle of middle school football.

The host team got things rolling by kicking off to Lexington’s 8th grade team. The Eagle play selection included a running combination of #8 Alberto Lara and #10 Jay Cooper, with Lara having the honors on the third run of going 60 yards for the Eagles’ first score. Lara ran up the middle and the Eagles were up 8-0.

Lexington kicked off and Thorndale set up on their own 25 yard line to start their attack. Thorndale decided to run it too, but Lexington had nice tackles by #70 Tyler Gardner, Lara and #38 Cody Mitchell. The Bulldogs were forced to punt. Lara took the punt and ran it back to the Thorndale 32 yard line. A false start by Lexington pushed them back 5 and then Cooper took the direct snap and ran 33 yards to set up a first and goal for Lexington. Another snap to Cooper and a run for 4 yards left made the new Lexington score 14-0. Extra point failed.

7th Grader Nic Dillon protecting the ball. PHOTO 
BY MARK STRAIN. 7th Grader Nic Dillon protecting the ball. PHOTO BY MARK STRAIN. Lexington kicked back to Thorndale with 3:43 left in the first. Thorndale received the ball deep in their own territory and the back bobbled the ball and dropped it, where a streaking #5 Joey Kelley jumped on top to give the ball back to Lexington on Thorndale’s own 27 yard line. With two possessions and two scores, the Lexington 7th grade offense was sent out to try their luck.

The 7th grade offense game selection turned out to be a three play running scheme similar to the 8th grade with the same results. #17 Caleb Parkerson and #21 QB Nic Dillon started running and Dillon capped it off by shaking loose four different would-be tackles to go 22 yards to score. A completed pass in the right flats to #24 Austin Bradshaw was tackled short, so the new score became 20-0 with 2:00 minutes left in the first. The 7th grade kickoff team, led by #66 Nathaniel Clifford, sent it all the way down to the Thorndale 26 yard line where the Bulldogs took over facing the Eagle 8th grade defense. Thorndale thought better and decided to try an aerial attack. Two passes and one QB sack by 8th grader #55 Tyler Krenek caused Thorndale to punt again. Lexington took over on the Thorndale 41 yard line with 33 seconds left in the quarter. The first quarter ended with the 7th grade offense back on the field.

8th Grader Jay Cooper on the carry. 
PHOTO BY MARK STRAIN. 8th Grader Jay Cooper on the carry. PHOTO BY MARK STRAIN. Two plays into the second quarter and Lexington fumbled with the Bulldogs recovering. They took over on their own 17 yard line. The Lexington 7th grade defense went out to try their hand against the Bulldog offense. On Thorndale’s fourth play, the Bulldog back had a nice run where he shook off five or six Lexington defenders to go about 75 yards for the score. A screen pass to the right was dropped and the new score was 20-6 Lexington.

The Eagles took over on their own 32 yard line after an Eagle holding call. Lexington went three and out, but instead of punting, the ball was thrown in the direction of a wide open receiver. “In the direction of” means “no good” and Thorndale took over on downs on the Eagle 35. Two runs, a flag, and two incomplete pass plays gave the ball back to the Lexington 7th grade offense on their own 39 yard line.

A run by #33 Antonio Scott and two runs by Dillon almost ended Lexington’s possession, but Parkerson was able to cover a Lexington fumble to keep the drive going. A run by Dillon and Parkerson put the ball in the end zone; however, a holding call brought the ball back out to the Bulldog 20 yard line with seconds left in the half. Several plays later, Lexington’s 7th grade offense was scrambling to get one more play off as the clock ticked 6, 5, 4.. With one last snap Dillon went left, shaking off would-be tacklers, and one big pile of Green and White and Maroon and Yellow all fell down around the pylon in the far corner of the field. With time expired, the sideline umpire ran up and pointed to the ground about 1 foot short of the the end zone. Half time score was 20-6 Lexington.

Lexington’s 7th grade kicked off to start the second half and Thorndale started out on their own 31 yard line. Lexington’s 8th grade defense held Thorndale, forcing a punt and the 8th grade Eagles took over. With #10 Jay Cooper taking over as QB, a combination run package between Cooper and Lara set Lara up for a 44 yard touchdown run. An incomplete pass for the extra point put the new third quarter score at 26-6 Lexington.

Lexington’s 8th grade kicked off and the Thorndale back returned the kick 10 yards to the Thorndale 26 yard line before a good Lexington tackle brought him down. The 7th grade Eagle defense took to the field, limiting the Bulldogs to a steady ground game. Good tackles were made by Dillon, #33 Antonio Scott and #22 Hunter Dill, keeping the Bulldogs out of the end zone.

The first play of the fourth period went left for 5 yards to cap an 8 play drive resulting in a Bulldog score. Dill stopped the extra point conversion, and the new score was 26-12. The Bulldogs went for an onside kick but failed to kick the ball ten yards and so the 7th grade Eagle offense took over. The first play of the drive, the ball was dropped, but quickly covered by Thorndale on the Lexington 30 yard line. The 8th grade defense was sent out onto the field with the exception of the safety being 7th grader Dillon. Thorndale had an eight play drive working when it finally stalled and Lexington took over on their own 11 yard line. The Eagle offense was a mix of players and used two plays to score. A six-yard loss, then a 96 yard run by Lara, changed the score to 32- 12. The extra point conversion failed. The Eagle 7th grade team kicked off short, allowing Thorndale to take over on the Bulldog 40 yard line. Like Lexington, Thorndale had two plays and a score. However, Thorndale fumbled the ball on the second play and Lexington’s Parkerson went 45 yards on the scoop and score. A 2 point pass to 7th grader #24 Austin Bradshaw and the score changed to 40-12.

Lexington kicked off and Thorndale took the ball at their own 25 yard line. On the next play the Bulldog QB went up the middle 65 yards, but was stopped short on the Eagle 10 yard line when 7th grader Scott caught him from behind for a touchdown-saving tackle. After the excitement, it all came back for a flag against Thorndale. With a combination of 7th and 8th grade Eagle defense, the Bulldogs had about 4 running plays before the clock ran out and gave the Lexington Hybrid Middle School Football Team the win for the night with a score of 40-12.

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