By Chris Yow
LaVERGNE — Jaxson Campbell and the Independence offense came into Friday night’s contest at LaVergne with something to prove.
The Class 6A Mr. Football semifinalist quarterback Campbell was lethal early, throwing two touchdown passes in his first six attempts — all completions — to put his team on top as Independence defeated the Wolverines 49-14.
“We definitely had something to prove,” Campbell said. “Any time you lose a game you think you should win, we wanted to get that bad taste out of our mouths from last week.”
Independence wasted no time after taking the opening kick, going 74 yards on four plays in under two minutes. Campbell hit Lockwood on a 41-yard touchdown pass to put the Eagles on top, and they never looked back. In a dominant first half, Campbell was 11-of-14 for 264 yards and four touchdowns.
After an early second-quarter touchdown from Indy running back Tre Hartwell, LaVergne cut into the lead with a rushing score of its own from Ray Banner. Banner capped a solid 12-play, 80-yard drive with a 2-yard score. That trimmed the margin to 21-7 in favor of Independence.
On the first play of the ensuing drive, however, Campbell wasted no time in finding Calvin Wilson for a long touchdown pass. Campbell rolled to his left and heaved the ball to the goal line, where Wilson leapt over the defensive back’s head to high-point the ball for a touchdown. Wilson finished with four catches for 120 yards, all in the first half.
He said he was especially happy to get this win to reach the second round, saying this team has a different feel from past teams who lost in the second round.
“We are a big family,” he said. “We really go out and do our best to play for each other, and that’s really a big part of our success.”
Halftime can be a momentum-stopper sometimes, and the third quarter was uncharacteristically error-prone from the Eagles. A scoring drive from LaVergne cut the lead to 35-14, and then an onside kick was recovered by the Wolverines. A turnover on downs set the Eagles up with good field position, but a Ty Lockwood fumble gave momentum right back.
Another fourth-down stop for the Eagles’ defense, however, was the spark needed. Tre Hartwell and Bryce West each found paydirt to push the Independence lead to that final margin in the fourth quarter.
“When you get a little bit of complacency, we didn’t put them away as early as we should have,” Independence coach Scott Blade said. “Regardless, our kids stayed focused and did the job.”
For the game, Indy held LaVergne to 103 yards on the ground, and the run defense is something in which this team has taken pride.
Next up is a rematch at Brentwood in the second round. This will be the third consecutive year the two teams will play, Brentwood taking wins in both previous matchups.
“I am trying to undo the curse,” Campbell said. “We are going to come out offense on fire, defense is going to have to key on their best players. I am excited to beat the curse.”
Independence 49, LaVergne 14
at Freedom Field
I 14 21 7 7 — 49
L 0 7 7 0 — 14
|I – Ty Lockwood 41 pass from Jaxson Campbell (10:04) Sam Henke kick|
|I – Brigham Morrical 16 pass from Campbell (5:43) Henke kick|
|I – Tre Hartwell 2 run (10:21) Henke kick|
|L – Ray Banner 2 run (5:36) Rodrigo Majano kick|
|I – Calvin Wilson 40 pass from Cambell (5:05) Henke kick|
|I – Wilson 61 pass from Campbell (0:46) Henke kick|
|L – Banner 1 run (9:00) Majano kick|
|I – Hartwell 23 run (0:58) Henke kick|
|I – Brice West 2 run (10:42) Henke kick|
|Independence — Tre Hartwell 10-91, Brice West 4-42, Walker Johnson 3-25, Jaxson Campbell 1-5, Hunter Howard 1-1|
|LaVergne — Lavandrea Webb 12-38, Ray Banner 16-29, Eric Gooch 3-16|
|Independence — Jaxson Campbell 14-20-0 292|
|LaVergne — Lavandrea Webb 13-23-0 169|
|Independence — Calvin Wilson 4-120, Ty Lockwood 4-71, Brigham Morrical 3-59, Tyler Kondra 2-36, Ethan Pickering 1-6|
|LaVergne — Greg Bush 9-159, Ali Zebaree 1-4, Ray Banner 2-3, Ellington Anderson 1-3|