COOKEVILLE – The Lausanne Collegiate School made its first football playoff appearance in 2015. Now, the Lynx are back-to-back state champions.
That escalated in a hurry.
Lausanne star running back Eric Gray, a two-time Mr. Football winner, earned Division II-AA BlueCross Bowl offensive MVP honors in the 41-13 win over Notre Dame with 281 yards and five touchdowns on 25 carries.
Lausanne (13-0) has won 27 consecutive games, dating back to the start of the 2016 season that featured a 14-0 march through Division II-A. Notre Dame (11-2) made its first title-game appearance, but the Lynx muted Notre Dame junior star athlete Cam Wynn, a Mr. Football finalist and Tennessee commit. He finished with just 12 yards rushing and 17 receiving.
Lausanne defensive end Corteze Love, who became eligible this week after having had to sit out the previous 12 games over being ruled ineligible by the TSSAA. He wound up the game's defensive MVP with 12 tackles, two sacks and 2.5 tackles for loss.
Lausanne coach Kevin Locastro explained Love's ruling in this video...
Gray needed 130 yards entering the season finale to top the 3,000-yard mark for the season. He achieved that with a 19-yard scoring run with 8 minutes, 39 seconds left in the third. The run gave him 3,010 yards and put the Lynx ahead 27-7.
He added a 12-yard touchdown scamper four minutes later and then a 43-yarder with 7:20 left in the fourth quarter.
His season stats finished like this: 323 carries for 3,151 yards and 45 touchdowns in just 13 games. Former Beech and University of Tennessee running back Jalen Hurd owns the state single-season rushing yardage record with 3,357 yards in 2012. Former Alcoa running back Jaron Toney scored the most rushing touchdowns in a season with 50. Hurd and Toney played 15-game seasons.
Lausanne took control of the game in the first half thanks to 92 yards rushing and two TDs (39 and 35 yards) by Gray. The latter put the Lynx ahead 20-7 just 2:24 before halftime.
Lausanne’s defense held Notre Dame to just 80 yards in the first half on 42 plays. Wynn returned the opening kickoff 71 yards to the Lausanne 21, and the Irish took advantage a few plays later with a Dallas Brown 9-yard scoring run just 1:12 into the contest.
But Wynn didn’t make an impact the rest of the half, reaching the break with 8 yards rushing on seven carries and 14 yards receiving on three catches.