As the clock wound down on Lyman Ward’s homecoming game against Meridian, Miss.-based Russell Christian, emotions ran high and tempers flared in the contest that ended with the Rangers losing to the Warriors 46-22.
The trouble started when Lyman Ward’s James Adcocks and a player from the Warriors got in a brief altercation late in the fourth, causing a dead-ball personal foul on both teams. At that point Russell Christian had claimed the victory with a 40-22 score. But with literally no time left on the clock, the Warriors added insult to injury by making one more touchdown.
With that, Lyman Ward head coach Keith Elliott led his Rangers to bypass the traditional post-game handshake and instead head straight into the fieldhouse.
“The tensions were high in the last three minutes of the game and I felt like we would be better off going straight to the locker room,” Elliott said.
While it wasn’t that final Warriors TD that prompted the coach’s decision, he still wasn’t happy with how Russell Christian head coach Nate Ballard decided to end the game.
“He’s a good coach,” Elliott said. “If he can sleep with it, that’s up to him. But I disagreed with it and didn’t think it showed much class.”
The night started with a grapple back and forth for domination. Russell’s Drew Taylor threw a pass to Chris Walk for a touchdown with 8:43 left in the first quarter. Within the blink of an eye the Rangers answered with a score of their own by Corey Coleman with 8:23 left in the quarter. But the Warriors pushed back with 1:06 left in the first with a TD from the goal line, bringing their lead to 14-6 after a 2-point conversion.
Both teams would score once more in the second quarter. Russell’s came with 7:15 left, followed by a 2-point conversion. Lyman Ward’s hit as the first half closed and Coleman made his second touchdown of the night with 13.7 seconds on the clock. This narrowed Russell’s lead to 22-12 at the half.
The Warriors would continue their attack by laying down two touchdowns in the third quarter. The first was a 45-yard rush by Logan Sayers with 8:41 left in the quarter. The second was by Taylor with a 9-yard rush with 31.1 seconds on the clock. The third quarter closed with the Warriors leading 34-12.
The Rangers made one last stand in the fourth quarter as Trey Webb rushed 50 yards for the score with 10:26 left. But the Warriors were determined to dominate, rushing 15 yards for the score with 5:14 left in the fourth and then casting that final blow at 0.0 for the 46-22 defeat.
The game’s conclusion cast a pall on Lyman Ward’s homecoming activities, which included honoring the 50th anniversary of the Lyman Ward Class of 1966 football team, which had an 8-1 season, losing only to Eclectic High — a record that still stands today. Recognized were Class of 1966 Rangers team members Ray “Dog” Blackburn, Jimmy Brittain, Eddie Pope and coach J.D. Gooden.
The festivities also included the crowning of Homecoming Queen Morgan Gray of Tallahassee, Fla. The 17-year-old represented Bravo Company and was escorted by Cadet Brody Gerrell. LTC Jared Norrell, vice president of Lyman Ward, crowned the queen.
Next Lyman Ward heads on the road to play Ezekiel. Kickoff is 7 p.m. Friday.