The Herald Banner, Greenville, TX


November 11, 2012

Luper helps Sherman beat Greenville in Lions' season finale


GREENVILLE —   J.T. Luper ran for three touchdowns and also caught a touchdown pass to help Sherman to a 27-14 victory over Greenville in the Lions’ football season finale on Friday night.

  Luper, who ranks among the top Class 4A receivers in the state, caught eight passes for 151 yards, including a 54-yard touchdown connection with quarterback Dru Smith, and also ran for scores of 5, 1 and 3 yards while receiving the snap from center in Wildcat formation.

  “He’s pretty good,” said Lions coach Marvin Sedberry.

  Sherman, now 8-2, advances to the playoffs after finishing second in District 13-4A with a 6-1 record.

  The Lions finished at 0-10 for the third straight season.

  After an observed moment of silence in memory of Greenville student Alicia Moore, whose body was found Tuesday in Van Zandt County, Sherman took the opening kickoff and marched 75 yards to score in eight plays. Luper picked up the final 54 yards with his reception on a post pattern. Austin Roan’s kick was low and wide into a stiff wind.

  Greenville answered the 6-0 deficit with a 71-yard, six-play drive that featured the running of quarterback Marquist Davis. Davis kept for gains of 1, 6 and 41 yards before breaking loose on a 24-yard touchdown run up the middle. It was the senior quarterback’s third touchdown run of the season. Kellen Cox’s kick gave the Lions a 7-6 lead with 5:27 left in the opening quarter.

  The Lion defense produced two turnovers, including a muffed Sherman lateral returned by Tyrik Anderson to the Greenville 45 and Jarius Dawson’s diving interception of a tipped Sherman pass at the Bearcat 49. But Greenville was unable to cash in on both turnovers.

  “We got those two turnovers early and got nothing out of it,” said Sedberry.

  Sherman would not be denied on its fourth possession, marching 71 yards in 12 plays. Smith fired completions of 19 yards to Josh Fleming, 21 to Luper and 11 to Treyson Jones before Luper capped the drive with a 2-yard run. Luper tried to run for two again in Wildcat formation but landed short of the goal line on a dive from inside the three.

  Sherman got the ball back 10 seconds later on a fumbled kickoff return recovered by Sherman’s Fleming at the Lion 16. The Bearcats scored in four plays as Luper ran in from a yard on another play from Wildcat formation. Austin Roan’s kick gave the Bearcats a 19-7 halftime lead.

  “They cashed in on that one (turnover) we had early,” said Sedberry. “I thought that was critical.”

  Sherman marched 67 yards in seven plays on its first possession of the second half to score its final touchdown. Running back George Dawson, who finished with 105 yards on 10 carries, slashed his way for gains of 16, 11, 8 and 6 yards. Smith fired an 18-yard completion to Luper, who made a one-handed grab at the 3-yard line.

  Luper then scored on the next play, tracking down an errant snap from center that sailed over his head in Wildcat formation, picked up the ball at about the Greenville 20 and then dipped and darted through the Lion defense for the touchdown. Smith passed to Kahlee Woods for the two-point conversion to up the count to 27-7.

  Greenville answered with a 66-yard, 15-play drive. Davis ran for gains of 3, 2, 4 and 2 yards, Tyler Matthews ran for gains of 2, 11, 9, 1 and 7 yards and Davis connected with receivers Michael Hernandez and DaMarcus Bridges on completions of 5 and 4 yards. Wide receiver Eric Hughes also dashed 11 yards for a first down on a reverse before Davis raced seven yards on a quarterback keep for the touchdown with 58 seconds left in the third quarter. Cox converted.

  Greenville got inside the Sherman 40 twice more in the fourth quarter but couldn’t cash in as the Lions finished with 191 total yards. Davis ran for 70 yards on 18 carries and was 4-of-11 passing for 25 yards. Matthews finished with 54 yards on 13 carries and Jalen Crockett added 26 yards on three carries.

  Smith was 15-of-22 for 229 yards passing for Sherman, which finished with 367 yards of total offense.

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