Monday night football will come to Columbia County this week with a championship title on the line.
The annual Junior Varsity County Cup will be up for grabs as the county's top two JV football teams meet at Lakeside at 6 p.m. for one final game.
"I expect a close game," Lakeside junior varsity football head coach Kevin Waters said. "I think whoever has the momentum in the fourth quarter will win."
Waters and his Panthers had plenty of fourth-quarter momentum Wednesday night, when the Lakeside JV squad faced Greenbrier's JV in a key contest to decide who would meet Evans in the championship game.
The Panthers won 21-7 to complete a 3-0 sweep over their Columbia County opponents this year. Wednesday's win came after a tough defensive effort.
"The defense was our strong point tonight," Waters said. "They put us in a situation to win like they have all year."
Lakeside took a 13-0 lead into halftime despite two first-half interceptions by Greenbrier's Ben Morgan. The Wolfpack sophomore grabbed his third pick of the game midway through the third quarter that led to a Greenbrier touchdown.
The Wolfpack had chances to tie or take the lead later in the third quarter after a pair of Lakeside fumbles, but the Panthers defense held Greenbrier to three-and-out twice.
With two minutes left in the third quarter, Lakeside tailback Ricky McMurtrey broke the fumbling trend with an 86-yard touchdown run. Yeon Hill scored on the two-point conversion for a 21-7 Lakeside lead.
"The funny thing is, Ricky's run was a busted play," Waters said. "We hadn't run that play in at least three weeks, and I don't think we blocked it right, but it worked."
Greenbrier's final attempts at a rally ended in the fourth quarter with three straight turnovers. The Wolfpack picked up a first-and-goal, but Lakeside's Scott Hill grabbed his first of two interceptions in the fourth quarter to kill the drive.
Ben Brooks also picked off a pass to seal the Lakeside win.
Lakeside and Evans will meet Monday for the JV County Cup Championship. Evans is the defending County Cup Champion after last year's undefeated season, but the JV Knights lost to Lakeside earlier this year.
"We turned the ball over too many times," Evans junior varsity football coach Russell Lee said. "We're going to make sure that won't happen again."
The JV County Cup Championship will take place Monday at 6 p.m. at Panther Stadium.
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