LCM homecoming battle with Legacy decided on late 2 pt conversion try

Published 12:53 am Saturday, September 30, 2023

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The LCM Battlin’ Bears came up short on homecoming, 34-33, to the Legacy Titans on Friday night.

LCM set the tone early and scored on its opening drive. Quarterback Dylan Payne found running back Carson McIllwain open for a 9-yard touchdown strike and a 7-0 lead after the Nick Smith extra point.

The Bears added another touchdown late in the first quarter as running back J’Lynn Morris roared into the end zone from 16 yards out to give LCM a 14-0.

Just when it looked as if the Bears might take control of the game, the Titans responded to open the second quarter. Quarterback Kelsean Henderson found running back Ahmare Merrida in the flat for a screen pass. Merrida then ran through the Bears defense and down the sideline for a 47-yard touchdown to make the score 14-7.

Henderson connected with another receiver on a screen for a 52-yard touchdown right before halftime to tie the game, 14-14.

The Titans took the opening kickoff of the third quarter and only needed four plays to find the end zone. The Henderson to Merrida connection paid off again, this time on a 29-yard screen pass, to give the Titans its first lead of the night, 21-14.

LCM answered as quarterback Dylan Payne and the Bears offense marched the ball down the field in three plays. This time it was running back Jonah Fuller finding the end zone on a 23-yard scamper up the middle. The extra point kick failed leaving the Titans ahead, 21-20.

Henderson was not done yet. Following a penalty, he dropped back and looked down the left sideline to find his receiver just ahead of the Bears secondary for a 73-yard scoring strike. The missed extra point kick left Legacy ahead, 27-20.

Henderson, who is just a freshman, finished the night with 21 completions on 34 attempts with 360 passing yards. The Titans offense had 420 total yards for the game.

LCM answered the Titans with another touchdown drive. Payne had been using his legs all night to punish the Legacy defense and he and Fuller continued to do just that in the second half. However, once the Bears offense reached the red zone, it was the Payne to McIllwain connection that found success again as the pair connected for a16-yard pass to tie the game, 27-27.

The Titans (5-1) had success through the air all night and continued that trend as Henderson found receiver Kameron Williams open for a 41-yard pass and catch. Williams would run the ball in for a 4-yard touchdown on the next play for a 34-27 Titans lead.

LCM fumbled the ball near the Titans goal line on its next possession, but the Bears defense came up big and forced a three-and-out on the Titans next series to give LCM one more shot.

With 3:08 remaining on the game clock, Payne and Fuller alternated carries as the Bears ground game pounded out the yardage. The Bears offense finished with 430 total yards for the game, while Payne had nearly 250 yards rushing to go with his 38 yards passing. Fuller had 122 yards rushing as well, which included his second touchdown of the night on a 1-yard scoring plunge up the middle with 53 seconds remaining in the game.

The Bears opted to go for the two-points and the win, but Payne slipped while making a cut to the right and fell at the 2-yard line, leaving the score 34-33 with the Titans in the lead.

The LCM onside kick was unsuccessful and the Titans escaped with the win.

LC-M (2-3) begins District 10-4A Division I play next Friday as the Bears host the Vidor Pirates (3-2).

— Written by Tommy Mann Jr.