MOORESVILLE - Lakeshore Middle (No. 2) came into Tuesday aiming for an upset of No. 1 Statesville Middle for the Super Tuesday Championship in their own backyard of Lake Norman High School.
But an upset was not in the cards as the SMS Bulldogs put points on the board and cruised to an 30-8 victory.
The Bulldogs wasted no time, scoring 47-seconds into the first quarter off a 13-yard rush by running back Justin Davidson. The running game was strong for Statesville due to the efforts of Davidson, Keidron Dukes and Ny’Quarius Faulkner. In the first quarter, they racked up 52 rushing yards, 43 in the first drive alone.
With the ball on the Bulldogs’ 11-yard line, the Lakers were looking to put their first points on the board. After a few stalled plays, Bulldogs defensive back Jaylen Himes intercepted A.J. Sirianni on the one yard line. Lakeshore, however, did not let Statesville capitalize on the turnover, forcing a safety with five minutes remaining in the first half.
With the first half coming to a close, Statesville hoped to put more points to have the momentum on their sideline at the half. After the Lakers shut them down, the Bulldogs punted from their own 20. Lakeshore fumbled the punt return and Statesville recovered the ball on their own 45. A rush by Statesville was blown up for a loss and both teams headed to the half, Statesville up 6-2.
The Lakers took the second half kickoff. Their offense was held to just two plays before Bulldogs’ Titius Myers intercepted a pass on their own 43 yard line. Again, Lakeshore did not let Statesville capitalize on the turnover. Michael Eicchorn intercepted a Bulldogs pass and returned it 80 yards for a touchdown. That gave Lakeshore the lead heading into the final quarter.
A strong fourth quarter performance from Statesville would separate them from Lakeshore. A 62 yard run by Davidson and a pick-six by Shawn Gregory - all within 2 minutes into the fourth quarter -pushed the Bulldogs to a big lead and they took home the championship..
“Our kids stepped up and played for four quarters,” said Lakers Head Coach Billy Tesseniar. “We knew it was gonna be a physical game. We didn’t back down from them. They are one heck of a football team.”
After the pick-six by Eicchorn, the momentum was on Lakeshore’s side and Tessenair said he felt it.
“It was electric,” he said. “Our fans were behind us. It was a great moment.”
Though that momentum did not last long, and the game did not swing their way, Tessenair said he is proud of his players.
“They have nothing to hang their head on. We went 5-2 for the year, we lost to the champions twice. That is nothing to be upset about. I love my boys and I love our staff. I am very grateful for our community and the support they have shown. Lake Normans JV team is undefeated, and I think these boys have a chance to do something special,” he said.
On the other side of the field, Statesville hoisted their championship trophy for pictures and coach Gregory Currence couldn’t hide his happiness for his players. “We came into this game very hungry,” he said. “We even made our own turnover chain to help motivate our players so as soon as [Shawn Gregory] got that pick-six we busted out the turnover chain. So it was very achieving to get this championship.”
Davidsion scored two touchdowns and made some big plays to help carry Statesville to the win, and Currence was impressed with his play. “He is one of a kind. He is going to be a great football player in the future. He had one heck of a game tonight and he is the MVP for this team,” he said.
With his players going to compete at the next level, Currence said is excited to see what they can accomplish. “They worked hard in the classroom and on the field. This is just the beginning. All they can do is get better and keep working hard. I will always be in their corner if they need me,” he said.