Shannon tops 3,000-yard mark -
SMYRNA – In an age of wide open offense, Lebanon and Stewarts Creek stepped back in time with bit of a throwback in Friday's 28-23 Blue Devil victory.
The teams relied heavily on the ground game and special teams in a contest that was in doubt up until LHS took a 20-yard loss on fourth down to run out the clock and seal the win.
“This was an old-fashioned football game,” LHS coach Chuck Gentry said. “I'm very pleased with the way we played.”
“I told our kids this one would be a fight. When you come to play in Rutherford County you buckle those chin straps a little tighter -- let's knock heads and see what happens.”
The Blue Devils took the opening kickoff and drove 80 yards in 11 plays as flanker Anthony Crowell covered the final 34 after taking a well-thrown pass from Jalen Abston for a score. With a Sean Redmon PAT, LHS led 7-0 with 6:51 remaining in the first period.
Stewarts Creek opened the scoring at the 4:45 mark of the second quarter with a 36-yard field goal from Upton Bellenfant that capped 7-play, 44-yard drive.
Lebanon returned the favor with another 10-play, 80-yard drive that featured a fourth and 23 conversion on a fake punt as Abston connected with Eli Clemmons for 25 yards.
Tailback Dequantay Shannon ended the drive with a 9-yard run, pushing the LHS lead to 14-3 with 40 seconds remaining until intermission.
Red Hawk sophomore Tayden Mournivong returned the ensuing kickoff some 58 yards out to the Lebanon 38.
Striking quickly, QB Alex Krenk found slot receiver Jaron Williams all alone at the around the LHS 20. Going low to gather in the ball, Blue Devil defenders gave up on the play, thinking he had gone to a knee for the catch. Williams simply gathered himself and sprinted the rest of the way in for a touchdown with just 20 seconds left on the clock as the Red Hawks trailed 14-10.
Lebanon's defense held Stewarts Creek on their opening possession of the second half, forcing a punt near midfield. Taking over at their own 32, the Blue Devils reeled off eight running plays that ended with Shannon slipping around a pile of defenders for a 13-yard touchdowns with just 3:02 left in the third for a 21-10 lead.
Stewarts Creek countered with a long touchdown march of their own, needing 11 plays to cover 78 yards as Krenk tumbled into the end zone with 9:32 remaining in the game – bringing his team to withing five at 21-16.
Shannon added an exclamation point, hauling in Bellenfant's kickoff at his own one, then racing 99 yards for a touchdown to push the Devils to a 28-16 advantage.
The Red Hawks once again trimmed the lead to five points with an 11-play, 79-yard drive that ended with Krenk scoring on a 1-yard plunge.
Lebanon picked up a pair of first downs and ran out the final 5:29.
“We played bend, but don't break defense,” Coach Gentry said. “We didn't give up any long ones and we were really worried about No. 2 (Jaylen Moore). We wanted to make sure we slowed him down.”
Lebanon did just that, holding the senior to less than 50 yards from scrimmage on 8 offensive touches.
Lebanon's Shannon reached two individual career milestones in the game.
The three-year starter finished with 140 yards on 22 carries, pushing him to 3,015 in his career, tops for the LHS program in at least half a century.
He scored three times to give him 50 touchdowns in his varsity career – also tops in the last 50 years at Lebanon.
“Dequantay has had an phenomenal career so far and it's certainly not over,” Gentry said. “I appreciate the Stewarts Creek folks recognizing him. But he'd tell you we don't worry about stats. There's only one stat I worry about and that's what's on the scoreboard.”
Led by Shannon's 140 yards, Lebanon picked up 161 on the ground on 34 attempts while Stewarts Creek finished with 151 yards on 34 carries. Stewarts Creek's Gabe Walker rushed for 98 yards on 15 carries while Krenk added 77 on 15 tries with two touchdowns.
The Red Hawks had 15 first downs to Lebanon's 16 while neither team turned the ball over.
Blue Devil quarterback Abston completed 7-of-10 passes for 133 yards and a touchdowns. The Blue Devils did not attempt a pass in the second half.
With the win, Lebanon improved to 5-3 headed into an Oct. 23 home game with Region 4, 6A rival Wilson Central. The win was Lebanon's third in a row.
Now 5-5, Stewarts Creek is scheduled to visit Nashville's John Overton High Oct. 23 for a Region 5, 5A encounter. The loss snapped a three-game winning streak for the Red Hawks.
BLUE NOTE – Shannon's fourth quarter kickoff return for a score was the first for a Blue Devil since Eddie McDaniel turned the trick back in 2012.