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Bruins claw back, top AJ

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By Robert Howey

The Lancaster Bruins, in aroused bear fashion, clawed out a 31-6 win over county rival Andrew Jackson at Memorial Stadium on Friday night.LHS, up 7-0 at the half, ignited for two key second-half touchdowns to take control on the way to the 25-point win.The Vols, after yielding a quick score on the Bruins’ first possession with Zed Truesdale dashing six yards for a touchdown to cap a five-play, 49-yard march, played tough to set the stage for the game to be decided in the second half.LHS, which rolled up 383 yards total offense, struck in a hurry as Truesdale, who had 140 yards rushing on 16 carries, darted 65 yards on the first play of the second half.“Zed picked up the kick-out block and ran to daylight,” said LHS coach Bennie McMurray, who celebrated his 59th birthday with the win. “AJ presented us some problems, but we made some halftime adjustments and things kinda fell into place.”LHS struck again three possessions later as Shane Carter’s 38-yard punt return to the AJ 18 put the Bruins in striking distance.Three plays later, LHS running back Marco Wylie sprinted in from seven yards out for a 21-0 lead after Bruins’ senior kicker Anna Funderburk added the third of four extra points.“There were a lot of big plays and we were able to capitalize,” McMurray said. “When you have chances, you take advantage.”AJ kept battling and produced points on a defensive gem.Vols’ junior defensive end Kevin Adams picked off a Matt Reese flat pass and raced 36 yards to close the gap to 21-6 after Tyler Stroud missed the extra point with 3:40 to play in the third period.Lancaster, sparked by another Carter return, answered.Carter’s kickoff return to the LHS 48 put the Bruins in business, with Funderburk kicking a field goal off the scoring drive.Reese, who ran for 129 yards in 15 carries, keyed the drive with a 32-yard run to the AJ seven.LHS moved to the AJ four, but the determined Vols held and Funderburk came on to nail a 21-yard field goal for a 24-6 LHS lead.Lancaster’s final points came off a Brion Strothers’ interception at the LHS seven. The Bruins responded with a key 93-yard drive, with Reese bolting 45 yards on a crucial third-and-eight play at the Bruins’ nine-yard line.“Reese is a good player,” AJ coach Louis Clyburn said. “I looked for him after the game and shook his hand.”Reese capped the drive and night’s scoring, hitting LHS senior receiver Michael Catoe on a third-and-four pass from eight yards out.LHS opened the scoring, going 49 yards, with Truesdale, who had 17 yards in the drive, tallying on a six-yard dash with 8:45 to play in the first period. Jamias Clark also had a 20-yard run in the march.After that, AJ played tough.“After that first drive, we shut them down,” Clyburn said. “I can’t fault our effort, but it’s going to take a little more against a team like Lancaster. They have a good program going here and I respect what they do.“They did a good job of stopping our running game and we had to go to our throwing game and we didn’t do a very good job of throwing and catching tonight,” Clyburn said. “We had some assignment breakdowns and gave up some big plays.”Each team had a chance to score in the opening half, but squandered chances.A Justin Sellers’ fumble recovery gave AJ the ball at the Bruins’ 18, but a play later LHS’s Tim Duncan picked off Daniel Pardue’s end zone pass.Late in the first half, Truesdale had a 64-yard touchdown run nullified by a clipping penalty.“We had a good start getting up early, but we hit a lull and didn’t play well and Andrew Jackson had something to do with that,” McMurray said. “In the second half, we came out and did what we’re supposed to do. We’re a better football team this season and the potential is there, but we have to keep working. It’s a good start, but we can’t rest on it. We want to keep moving forward.”Clyburn said the Vols played hard, but he didn’t want a moral victory.“I want our guys to remember the score, let it sting and then put it behind us,” he said. “We will come back Monday and get ready to play Buford.”