The weather was amazing on Friday night as the Lake County Falcons took the field against the Union City Tornados. The play of the Falcons calmed the storms of the Tornados.
The rivalry between these schools goes without saying.
“The key to playing any team is doing your job. Whatever that might be. Then, when it is a rivalry game, that is even more important because you have all of the emotions to deal with,” said Coach Josh Puckett.
Offensively, the Falcons had 32 plays for the 60 of the Tornados. It didn’t matter though since Larry Tubbs, Cayden Puckett, Keyshon Gross, Malachi Taylor, and Tanner Snyder wasted no time scoring often. Tubbs, by himself, had eight carries. Tubbs used those carries to get 284 yards and five touchdowns. The Falcons would rack up 566 total yards (127 passing, 439 rushing).
Puckett said of Tubbs, “I am so proud of Larry. He has waited his turn to be the starting running back and now he is reaping his rewards. He is a hard worker and a great teammate.”
The tandem of Cayden Puckett and Larry Tubbs combined for 16 points in the first quarter. Tubbs scored on a 49-yard run and Puckett added the two-point conversion. Shortly after, Puckett scored on a long 81-yard run and Tubbs capped if off with the two-point conversion. This put Lake County up 16 – 0 early in the game.
Keyshawn Gross added to the score with a 12-yard touchdown reception in the second quarter. Tubbs added the 2-point conversion to put the Falcons up 24 – 0 at 6:08 in the second quarter.
Union City got on the board with a 70-yard TD run for quarterback Sam Theobald. It was a big play for the Tornados that seemed to give them a fresh wind. Travon Westbrook added the 2-point conversion. The score sat at 24 – 8 in the second quarter.
A few moments later, Tubbs would run 51-yards for his second touchdown. Tanner Snyder kept the ball on the 2-point conversion to put Lake County up 32 – 8 with 4:58 left in the second quarter.
On Union City’s next possession, they would keep the ball for four minutes and 42 seconds. Union City drove the ball deep on a 14 play and 63-yard drive. Justin Wiggins, playing fullback for the Tornados, drove the ball in on a 4-yard run for a touchdown. Westbrook added the two-point conversion.
With 16.0 seconds remaining, Union City kicked off to Lake County. On the kickoff, the clock ticked down to 12.4 seconds. With just about everyone, except the Falcons, expecting the ball to be downed and the clock run out before halftime, Tanner Snyder and the offense dialed up a play that rocked the stadium. Snyder laid a beautiful bomb out to Malachi Taylor for a 62-yard reception for a touchdown as the clocked ticked down the final seconds of the half. With a failed 2-point conversion, Lake County was sitting on top 38 – 16 at the half.
Any wind the Tornados had left seemed to be snatched from them with that play. Union City could not score the rest of the game. Despite their 60 plays for 392 yards, the Tornados would not see the end zone again.
When asked about the momen, Coach Puckett said, “The long pass from Tanner to Malachi Taylor right before halftime was the nail in the coffin. They were trying to get back in the game, and that slammed the door for good.”
Lake County’s defense made some huge plays through-out the game. Jamarius Williams intercepted the only pass that Union City attempted all night. Williams also had 4 tackles and 5 assists during the game. Izaiah Matheny had 4 tackles and 3 assists. John Wilson racked-up 3 tackles and 6 assists. Rylan Williams made 3 tackles and 5 assists. Campbell Puckett and Damarion Abbott both had 3 tackles and 1 assist. Puckett had 1 tackle for loss. With all the assists, it seems that the Falcons are getting to the ball as a team.
“Keaton Samons played extremely well on offense. He blocked one of their best players all night long. I was very proud of him. Jamarius “Tink” Williams played extremely well on defense. He played very disciplined and tough football. I was very proud of him as well.” Said Coach Puckett of Samons and Williams.
Larry Tubbs went on a tear in the third and fourth quarters. He would tack on three more touchdown runs of 61, 75, and 36 yards. Keyshon Gross added a two-point conversion on the second one.
In reflecting on the game, Tubbs said, “I think I did pretty good. I’ve been waiting three years to show what I could do, and Friday was my chance and I took it.” He added, “My O line definitely turned up for me. Big Shout out to Keaton Samons. We ran left a lot and he executed really well. But I look forward to many more games like this. It’s been a long time coming.”
With the final score 58 – 16, Lake County has started the season in stride. Coach Puckett appeared to be pleased with the results. He added to the moment with his comments. “I am really proud of how the guys executed. We did our jobs and did them well. I thought we were focused and didn’t get caught up in our emotions.”
The Falcons will travel to 4A Crockett County on Friday of next week. Crockett County lost to Dyer County last week 42 – 7. Crockett was 6 – 6 overall and 1 – 3 in their region last year. They lost to Dyersburg in the second round 28 -12.