By Chris Yow
For The News Courier
In a rain-drenched and turnover-filled contest, East Limestone put together a gem in the second half to overcome a halftime deficit and defeat Lawrence County 34-20 in a Class 5A, Region 8 action.
The Indians (1-3, 1-2 Region 8) stifled the Lawrence County (1-4, 0-3) offense, holding them to only 43 yards in the second half while also scoring a pair of touchdowns to earn their first victory.
Dhalquille Eichelberger ran 24 times for 155 yards and three touchdowns for East Limestone, including the go-ahead score with 11:54 left in the fourth quarter from the Lawrence County 1-yard line. Eichelberger also scored on runs of 13 and 18 yards.
East quarterback Brick Pugh, who went 5 of 10 for 101 yards with a passing touchdown and one interception, punched in the last TD on a QB sneak to seal the deal. Pugh also had seven carries for 26 yards, a rushing TD, a 2-point conversion run and a 2-point pass to Nick Walsh.
The first half was an offensive slugfest, with three touchdowns tallied in the final 53 seconds of the second quarter. Lawrence County held a precarious 20-18 lead at halftime behind quarterback Dallas Keenum, who replaced injured starter Jesse Childress.
Keenum, who was 5 of 7 passing in the first half with a pair of touchdown tosses, found Garret Marsh on a 5-yard fourth down pass and hit Donivan Wheeler on a go pattern down the Red Devils’ sideline with 11 seconds left in the first half to put Lawrence County back ahead. Nathaniel Ford was 2 of 3 on extra point attempts for the Red Devils.
East Limestone scored on two Eichelberger runs in the first half and a 55-yard screen pass to Jordon Gandy, who finished with five catches for 103 yards. He caught the pass and ran through the Lawrence County defense all the way to the end zone in the second quarter.
The Red Devils, who only punted once, consistently kicked the ball out of bounds on kickoffs rather than allow a scoring opportunity to Gandy, who returned a kickoff 95 yards for a TD in last week’s loss to Russellville and has six scores this season.
Walsh snagged two interceptions for East, while DeAnte Griffith had two sacks.
Marsh had 20 carries for 107 yards, a rushing score and a receiving TD for Lawrence County.
Lawrence County hosts archrival Hatton (3-1) next Friday in a non-region game, while East Limestone plays at 6A James Clemens (2-2).
—Anthony Moran and Kim West contributed to this report.