Robert Lewis Middle School falls in title game

Published 12:38 am Friday, October 22, 2010

NATCHEZ — Robert Lewis Middle School placed its 7-1 record on the line Thursday night against the Wilkinson County Wildcats — the team that gave them their only loss in the regular season — in the Southwest Junior High Conference Championship.

And the Wildcats handed the Bulldogs their second loss of the season by a margin of 34-30 in a thriller that went down to the wire.

Running back Cleveland Spurlack of Wilkinson County put the team on his shoulders as he bulldozed through the Bulldog defenders for 218 yards on 26 carries. Spurlack scored three rushing touchdowns for the Wildcats, two of which were 55-yard runs on back-to-back possessions. His third touchdown of the game came on a 5-yard run as the first half expired, giving the Wildcats a 22-16 lead over the home team Bulldogs. All of Spurlack’s scores came in the second quarter.

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After fumbling the ball on their second possession of the game, Spurlack remained error free for the remainder of the game. The fumble, recovered by the Bulldogs’ Trey Fleming, was returned 15 yards for a touchdown to give the Bulldogs an 8-0 lead.

Trey Fleming, who plays running back on the offensive side of the ball, ran for 151 yards on 15 carries with a pair of touchdowns. His 55-yard touchdown run in the second quarter gave the Bulldogs a 16-8 lead and his 1 yard touchdown run after a 50-yard scamper tied the game just minutes into the third quarter.

During Fleming’s 55-yard touchdown run, he eluded multiple defenders, juking three or four players before cutting back across the field and out running the defense to the end zone.

“Trey works so hard. He has a great work ethic and great vision,” RLMS coach Henry Garner said. “He has a great attitude and he’s very coachable, he listens to what we say to him.”

The Bulldogs, late in the fourth quarter, brought the game within 4 points after a 62-yard touchdown pass from Carlos Woods to Sam Butler and a two-point conversion. However, after the failed onside kick attempt with just 53 seconds left on the clock, the Wildcats kneeled with the ball to kill the clock as they became the Southwest Conference Champions.

After the game, the emotions for the Bulldogs were visible as tears rolled down some of the players’ faces.

“This is a big-time loss for us. We had some bad breaks. We definitely did not play to our potential tonight. Our hats are off to Wilkinson County,” Garner said.