orangeleader.com (Orange, Texas)

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October 19, 2013

LC-M running game chews up Central

LITTLE CYPRESS — The Bears defense shutout the Panthers over the final three quarters and Brandon Toliver lead a potent ground attack as Little Cypress-Mauriceville coasted to a 24-7 win over Ozen Friday night at Battlin’ Bear Stadium.

 “Our defense came to play tonight,” said LC-M coach Randy Crouch, whose team improved to 3-1 in District 20-4A and 3-3 overall. “They (Ozen) had been averaging around 38-40 points per game the last couple of weeks, so I’m just so happy for them because of the work that they put in. Ozen is a good team and very dangerous.”

 Toliver led all rushers with 219 yards on 26 carries and had touchdown runs of 20, 31 and 6 yards. Jalen Griffin tallied 74 yards on 21 totes. For the game, the Bears rushed for 309 yards and outgained the Panthers 355 to 260.

 “It was exciting and crazy, but I just went out there and did my best,” said Toliver. “The offensive line did a great job blocking and I got what I could. It was a great game. They have a lot of good players on that team, but I think we came out ready to play tonight.”

 Already leading 14-7, the Bears scored on their opening possession of the third quarter. It was a steady diet of Toliver who covered all 50 yards on the drive in six carries, the last of which was a 6-yard TD run. The Bears defense set up the drive by sacking Ozen quarterback Josh Boyd for a 15-yard loss on fourth-and-two.

 “The third quarter was big for us because we were in the same position last week,” said Crouch. “Tonight we were able to put a scoring drive together and the defense came up with a couple of big fourth down stops.”

 LCM’s defense came up big again on the Panthers next drive. Ozen had driven the ball all the way to the Bears 24 before Teondre Grant intercepted Boyd in the end zone to thwart the drive.

 The Bears final drive started with 11:56 left in the fourth quarter. After 13 straight running plays, Trent Manuel kicked a 22-yard field goal with 3:24 remaining to put LCM up 24-7.

 “I’m going to quote Jim Mora and when I say playoffs,” said Crouch, when asked if this give the Bears an inside track to one of the district’s four playoff spots. “This district is a journey, it’s a marathon. You’ve got seven tough weeks. It’s a grind week in and week out. The coaching is outstanding and the talent on the teams is good. This was just number four on that step and next week is another step. If you do anything more than that then you’re being foolish. This thing is going to sift out at the last game.”

 Ozen (2-5, 2-2) started the scoring midway through the first quarter. A 36-yard punt return by Tony Brown set up the Panthers at the LCM 28. Boyd hit Randle for a 25-yard scoring strike to give the Panthers a 7-0 lead with 3:56 remaining in the first quarter.

 The Bears tied the game early in the second quarter. Griffin carried four straight times for 31 yards. Toliver capped the drive with a 20-yard touchdown run to make the score 7-7 at 9:59.

 LCM scored in the final minute of the opening half on Toliver’s 31-yard touchdown run on third-and-10. Quarterback Caleb Harley, who completed 5-of-11 passes for 46 yards, kept the drive alive with a 14-yard pass to Toliver on third-and-eight.

  He followed that with a 12-yard pass to Coby Roddy. Toliver, who finished the first half with 94 yards on eight carries, eluded several tackles and scrambled across the field on his scoring run that gave the Bears a 14-7 halftime lead.

 Boyd completed 12-of-25 passes for 191 yards and one touchdown to go along with one interception for the Panthers. He was also the team’s top ground gainer with 43 yards on 15 carries. Curl caught four passes for 50 yards and Caleb Gilder hauled in three for 71 yards.

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