Lexington, SC - The Lexington Youth Football and Cheerleading Association wrapped up the 2018 season with championship games in the Bantam (8-9-year-old) and Termite (10-11-year-old) divisions recently under the lights at the LYFC football field.
The first game of the night in the Bantam Division pitted a resurgent Sharks team, head coached by Bo Orr, against the season long powerhouse Panthers, coached by Mark Foster and Michus Bridges. The regular season matchup between these two teams saw the Panthers get the better of the Sharks. However, the Panthers knew the Sharks would be much improved for this game as Coach Bridges said about the game, “Our staff knew that Coach Orr would have his team ready to play and he did just that. We played the Sharks in week two and that surely wasn't the same team we played in week ten. It showed how well of a coaching job the Sharks staff did with their kids throughout the season. "
Offensively the Panthers leaned on the dynamic running from Phillip Burgess and Will Barksdale. The Panthers also relied on the arm of Aidan Foster and the timely passing attack to keep the chains moving, ultimately putting 12 points on the scoreboard.
Not to be outdone by the offense, the Panther defense, led by outside linebackers Will Barksdale and Crews Bridges, locked down the off-tackle lanes. Jamari Davis & Antwan Cook led the upfront push that paved the way for inside linebackers Mattox Bolen and Phillip Burgess to roam the field. Evan Foster and Allen Hegler locked the corners down with their aggressiveness and tackling, all culminating in keeping the Sharks from scoring. Coach Bridges had this to say about the Panther’s defensive performance, “Our defense has played tough all season, this was our seventh shutout in 10 games.”
Both teams played a great ball game. While the Sharks never backed down and played their hearts out, in the end the Panthers came away with a hard-earned victory.
The 2018 Termite Championship game featured a rematch of the 2017 Termite Championship where the Piranhas, coached by Kelvin Brooks and Michael Morris, were victorious over an undefeated Wildcat team, coached by Lance Myers and Jay Kirby.
The regular season matchup between these two teams ended with a decisive Wildcat win. Coming into the 2018 Championship, the Wildcats were once again undefeated. Averaging 19 points a game on offense with a defense only allowing an average 3.5 points a game, would this Wildcat team be able to pull out another win over the Piranhas?
Receiving the ball first, the Piranhas kept control of the ball by quick passing that neutralized the Wildcat defensive line threat for nearly the entire first quarter before scoring the first 6 points of the game. Thanks to an aggressive Piranha offense led by quarterback Parker Murray that combined a solid running game from Artem Kalinkin with a quick and cutting passing attack to receiver Krew Morris, the Wildcat defense was kept off balance and scrambling.The Piranhas failed on the following extra point attempt. But the Piranhas had done something to the Wildcats that had not been done all season; they kept the ball for a quarter and most importantly scored first. The Wildcats had never had to play from behind.
After the ensuing kickoff, the Wildcats put on a drive of their own. Running behind a stout and punishing offensive line kept the ball moving along with a tactical air attack from quarterback Landon Sharpe to receivers Brian McLendon and Josh Ulher. Hard runs from running backs Hayden Myers and Cam Morris brought the Wildcats to the red zone where QB Landon Sharpe ran the ball in for a touchdown. Hayden Myers run for the extra point in what Coach Myers said, “Was probably for the game.”
For the rest of the game the two teams slugged it out with neither quite able to get the upper hand over the other. With just under two minutes left in the fourth quarter, the Piranhas mounted what would be their last offensive series of the night. They effectively passed the ball downfield gaining chunks of yardage with each pass. The Wildcat defense bent but never broke and stopped the drive at midfield with a fourth down tackle that sealed the win for the Wildcats. The final score reflected a 7-6 win for the Wildcats.“Defense wins championships,” Coach Myers said as the Wildcat coaches congratulated each other. When asked what made this team so successful, Coach Kirby pointed to his chest and said, “Heart. They all played with a lot of heart. Never gave up. All heart. I’m proud of all of them.”