Landrum’s Chris Schulman runs downfield on Friday night, Sept. 21. Schulman caught a pass from T.J. Fincher and scored an 18-yard touchdown. (photo by Joey Millwood)

Landrum’s ‘tale of two halves’ ends with win vs. Liberty

Published 6:58pm Monday, September 24, 2012

On Friday night, Sept. 21, it was the definitive tale of two halves for the Landrum football team. In the first half, Murphy’s Law plagued Landrum on both sides of the ball, but in the second half it all came together in a 33-29 victory.
The Cardinal offense and defense dominated in the second half as Landrum remained undefeated in Region I-2A play. The Cardinals were down 22-7 at the half, but roared back.
In the first half, the Cardinal offense sputtered, which put the defense back on its heels. Liberty led 22-7 at the half, but it was the Cardinals who came out in the second half with all the momentum. Landrum’s lone touchdown in the first half came when quarterback T.J. Fincher hit Chris Schulman over the middle for an 18-yard touchdown.
The Cardinals came out in the second half and scored on their first possession. A seven-play drive was capped off with a Fincher four-yard touchdown run. Two drives later, the Red Devils responded with a seven-yard touchdown run by Erick Sanchez. The touchdown run came at the beginning of the fourth quarter and it looked bleak for the Cardinals.
Landrum, however, responded in a big way. Fincher found Sam Parsons down the right side on a 24-yard pass and then connected with Parsons again on a 12-yard touchdown pass.
“We started opening it up on the outside and that’s what did it in the second half,” Fincher said. “It feels good to finally be on top at the end when it was close.”
Fincher threw for three touchdown passes last week. This week he was 13-for-20 for 244 yards and three touchdowns through the air. He also rushed for two touchdowns.
The Cardinals’ offensive line played well in the second half, too.
“We have the playmakers that make plays,” center Matt Pace said. “We just have to give them the time.”
The defense held on the next drive and the Cardinals’ offense struck quickly. Fincher dropped back and tossed a 38-yard touchdown to Parsons, who was wide open down the left side on the first play from scrimmage. Down 29-26, it was up to the Landrum defense again. The Red Devils put together a nine-play drive, but the Cardinals defense fended off any momentum.
Three plays into Landrum’s next drive, Fincher connected with Peyton McCarter for a 44-yard pass that took the Cardinals to the one-yard line. Two plays later, Fincher grabbed a high snap and rolled left for what would end up being the game-winning touchdown.
With 1:49 left in the fourth quarter, Red Devil quarterback Brandon Alexander led his team down the field on a ten-play drive that ended with two batted-down passes in the endzone.
Defensive lineman Derek Brittain summed up the Cardinals’ final stand afterwards.
“It felt amazing,” Brittain said. “That’s the only [way] to describe it.”
Landrum coach Russell Mahaffey said he was thrilled at what his offense and defense did, but particularly what his defense did in the second half after being back on its heels in the first half.
“My hat’s off to the defense in the second half,” Mahaffey said. “When we had to stop them, we stopped them.”

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