SMYRNA- 20 in a row. 33-1 overall.
Those stats are what matters to the Smyrna Bulldogs as they beat rival LaVergne 35-28 on a rainy senior night.
Led by sophomore running back Arian Carter’s 148 yards rushing, the Bulldogs (6-3, 5-0 in 6-5A) defeated LaVergne for the 20 consecutive time and now lead the series 33-1 as it dates back to 1988.
The only win for LaVergne in the series came back in 1999 as they beat Smyrna 28-0.
“I’m super proud of the kids as they came out after halftime and the lightning delay and were really focused,” Smyrna coach Matt Williams said.
The Bulldogs will travel over to Stewarts Creek (5-4, 4-1) next week and the winner will capture the region 5-6A title.
Smyrna trailed 21-14 at halftime as Wolverine running back Ray Banner rushed for 193 yards and scored two touchdowns in the first half.
Unfortunately for Banner (209 total rushing yards) and LaVergne he was injured in the third quarter and never returned and Smyrna took advantage behind Carter and fellow running back Josh Jones.
Smyrna took the opening kickoff of the third quarter and wasted little time as sophomore Landon Miller connected with Jamir Eaton on a 77-yard touchdown to tie the game at 21.
Smyrna got a big special team to play to grab more momentum as they blocked a Lavergne punt and it was recovered at the Wolverines one-yard line.
On the next play, Miller scored on a quarterback sneak to give Smyrna the 28-21 lead.
After a LaVergne punt, Smyrna increased the lead to 35-21 as junior Brendan Benthall scored from five yards out.
LaVergne cut the lead to 35-28 as Tavares Battle scored with 6:35 left in the game but after LaVergne got the ball back with 1:41 left, the Bulldog defense stiffened and sacked quarterback Lavandrea Webb twice and they ran the clock out to seal the win.
Jones added 31 rushing to compliment Carter and Miller finished the game with 162 yards passing in the win.
Banner got LaVergne on the scoreboard on the Wolverines first possession of the game as he finished off an eight-play, 80-yard drive as he scored from eight yards out for a quick 7-0 lead.
The Bulldogs answered with a touchdown on their opening drive as Miller scored from a yard out on fourth down and goal to tie the score at 7.
After forcing a punt by LaVergne, Smyrna marched down the field and Carter scored from nine yards out to cap off a 12-play drive by scoring on the first play of the second quarter to give Smyrna a 14-7 lead.
LaVergne answered on their next possession as Webb scored on a 14-yard run but the extra point was no good and Smyrna led 14-13 with 6:30 left in the half.
LaVergne took the lead to the half after a Smyrna missed field goal of 36 yards as Banner scored from 75 yards out and Webb added a two-point conversion run to up the lead to 21-14 at the half as Banner finished with 193 yards on 17 carries at the half.
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