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Luverne rolls over Pike County

The Luverne Tigers advanced to the second round of the AHSAA Class 3A playoffs after blowing by Pike County 33-14 Friday night in Glenn Daniel Stadium.

The Tigers started the scoring spree early in the game as senior running back Chad Free ran 52 yards to set up an A.J. Hall touchdown on the next play. Robert Freeman’s point-after attempt was good, and Luverne took an early 7-0 lead with 8:30 left in the first quarter.

Pike County didn’t waste much time answering back as they scored on an 11-yard pass just three minutes later. The PAT was good, and Pike County had tied the game, 7-7.

But it was Luverne’s Ryan McGhee who returned the ensuing kickoff 75 yards for a touchdown with 4:35 left in the first quarter. Freeman’s PAT was good, and the Tigers took back the lead, 14-7.

During the second quarter, the Bulldogs from Pike County hit paydirt for the last time during the night on a one-yard run, tying the score back up to 14-14 with 5:20 left on the board.

Luverne’s Chad Free added another Tiger touchdown on a 12-yard run with 2:15 remaining in the first half; Freeman missed the PAT, but the Tigers took a 20-14 lead.

But Luverne wasn’t finished for the first half of the game as Chad Free again scored for the Tigers, this time on a 17-yard run with just 21 seconds left in the first half. The Tigers’ attempt at a two-point conversion failed, but they enjoyed a comfortable 26-14 lead going into halftime.

Luverne added its final points for the night during the final 5 seconds of the game as Chad Free scored on a one-yard run; Freeman’s PAT was good, and the Tigers sent Pike County home with a 33-14 loss.

Luverne’s leading rusher for the night was Chad Free with 31 rushes for 185 yards and 3 touchdowns. Senior Micah Wallace had 55 yards rushing for the night.

On defense, Lonnie Freeman led with 6 tackles, while A.J. Hall and Cody Smith had 5 tackles each. Ryan McGhee had one interception for the Tigers.

Kicker Robert Freeman was 3 for 4 for the night.

“I’m proud of the way they played,” LHS head coach Les Sanders said. “It was a big win for them, especially being a playoff win.”

Luverne (8-3) will be on the road to face 3A Daleville (8-3) this week in the second round of the playoffs.

“Daleville is a very good football team,” Sanders added. “They’re very athletic, and they’ll be tough to beat. We’re going to have to play even better if we are going to continue in the playoffs.”