Written by Allen J. Dunavant
Monday, 22 August 2016 06:17
The Lions opened season play by traveling to Hackleburg to face-off against the Panthers in a pre-season game. Coaching staffs from both schools agreed to play the first three quarters with the varsity teams competing and allow the junior varsity team to complete the game by playing the fourth quarter. Both teams will meet later in the schedule in a regular season game at Hubbertville.
Serving as team captains for the Lions were Senior Dax Benton and Junior Lathan Holliday. The Panthers won the coin toss and elected to receive the opening kick. Ryan Brubaker fielded the opening kick near the Panthers sideline where he was ruled out of bounds at the 42-yard line setting-up the Lion offense for their opening possession of the night. Sophomore Lion Quarterback, Chandler Young led the offensive front to the field with Benton taking the hand-off across mid-field to the Panthers 49-yard line on first down. Continuing the rushing attack with carries by Benton, Holliday and Tanner Upton the Lions were facing third down at the 44-yard line. Young took the snap and attempted his first pass of the night attempting to connect with Tre Snow down field but the ball fell incomplete setting up fourth down and sending Benton into the backfield to punt the ball away.
Benton's punt was fielded at the 7-yard line and advanced by Stone Fincher to the 24-yard line where the Panthers began their first offensive drive of the night. Panther's Quarterback, Steven Harper was met at the line of scrimmage by Benton for the stop on first down after a one yard gain. On second down Harper was brought down in the backfield by Cannon Alexander and Upton for a one yard loss and third down brought the passing game but Ethan Nichols was on coverage for the Lions, knocking the ball out of reach and setting up fourth down. The punt by Harper rolled out of bounds at the Lions 49-yard line.
The Lions wasted little time moving the ball down field on their second possession of the game. On first down, Holliday continued making his presence know on the field by taking the hand-off from Young and rushing up the middle to the Panthers 41-yard line. Benton took the ball around the right end and down the side lines to what appeared to be the first score of the evening but officials ruled he had stepped out of bounds at the 13-yard line. First down brought Holliday out of the backfield for a six yard gain and two plays later Benton rushed the ball over the right side of the line of scrimmage for the 7-yard rushing touchdown with 4:27 remaining in the opening quarter. The PAT kick by Benton; with Nichols serving as holder was unsuccessful and the score stood 6 - 0.
Following Benton's ensuing kick, the Panthers began their second offensive possession at their own 41-yard line with the Lions jumping off-sides on first down. The replay of down brought Fincher rushing up the middle with Holliday and Benton on the stop for the Lions after a three yard gain. Facing third down and two yards, Evan Crowe took the hand-off up the middle to the Lions 46-yard line keeping the drive alive. First down brought Harper attempting to connect thru the air with Kaleb Moore deep down field and following the play the Lions were penalized for pass interference setting the Panthers up at the Lions 32-yard line. Tatt Huffman and Tre Tranum broke across the line of scrimmage on first down to make the stop in the backfield and on second down Fincher was brought down by C. Alexander, Upton and Holliday leaving the Panthers facing third down and 9-yards. Reverting back to the passing game, Harper attempted a connection deep down field with Crowe but Zach Hubbert and Brubaker were on coverage for the Lions leaving the Panthers facing fourth down and 9-yards from the 31-yard line. Penalty flags moved the Panthers back an additional five yards following a false start and the misery continued for the Panthers as Holliday burst into the backfield sacking Harper at the Lions 40-yard line.
Young continued leading the Lions rushing attack on their third possession of the game handing the ball of to Benton and Holliday but defensive stops by John Gainey and Harper left the Lions facing fourth down at their own 43-yard line. Benton dropped back and punted the ball away with Crowe fielding the ball at the 26-yard line and advancing to the 42-yard line before being brought down by Hubbert and others as the first quarter came to a close.
Kaleb Moore took over as quarterback for the Panthers on their third offensive possession and on first down rushed around the left end and down the side line to the Lions 30-yard line where Benton made the stop. Holliday once again broke thru the line and made the sack in the backfield for a loss. Following back to back penalties against the Panthers for holding, Moore attempted to gain yardage by reverting to the passing game but he couldn't connect with Courtry Stidham down field as Nichols was on tight coverage. Second down brought Holliday into the backfield for the sack once again and a seven yard loss. Facing third down, Moore attempted a short pass attempt with Fincher but the ball fell to the ground bringing up fourth down and long yardage for the Panthers. Harper punted the ball away with Trey Snow fielding the ball at the 13-yard line for the Lions.
The Lions were penalized for a block in the back on the punt return moving the ball back down field and setting up first down at their own 5-yard line. Benton rushed for a five-yard gain on first down and was met by a host of angry defenders for the stop. Second down brought Young connecting thru the air with Snow for the first down at the 30-yard line. Holliday pushed the ball further down field taking the hand-off over the left side of the line of scrimmage to the 40-yard line before Crowe, Moore and others could bring him down for the stop. Upton got the call to carry on first down and advanced the ball across mid-field to the Panthers 49-yard line with Crowe and Austin Loveless on the stop. Sticking with Upton on the rushing attack, the Lion offense picked up an additional five yards on first down and Holliday took the ball deeper on the next two carries reaching the Panthers 31-yard line. Facing second down and 7-yards, Young called upon Benton to continue the rushing attack with Benton fighting his way to the 27-yard line leaving the Lions facing third down. As heavy rain began falling, Holliday took the hand-off and fought his way behind his blockers picking up the first down for the Lions at the 23-yard line. Young attempted a pass connection with Brubaker on first down but the ball fell incomplete and on second down the ball was mishandled during the exchange with the Panthers falling on the loose ball and taking over possession at their own 31-yard line.
Harper returned as quarterback for the Panthers and on first down rambled around the right end and down the side-line for the first down at the 42-yard line. Crowe was stopped on first down by C. Alexander and Tristan Nairemore after a two yard gain and on second down, Harper pitched the ball back to Crowe who fought his way to the Lions 44-yard line for the first down with Benton on the stop for the Lions. First down brought Harper with the quarterback keeper but Upton and Holliday remained in position for the stop after a one yard gain. On second down Harper connected thru the air on the passing attack with Stidham who advanced to the 9-yard line before Benton and Brubaker could make the saving stop. Fincher took the hand-off up the middle on first down but was meet by C. Alexander, Nairemore, Upton and a host of others for the stop for a 1-yard loss. Facing third down deep in the Lions red zone, Harper pitched the ball out to Crowe who was met immediately for the stop by Hubbert, Holliday and Upton bringing up fourth down and goal for the Panthers. Following a time-out, the Panthers were penalized moving the ball back five-yards leaving them facing fourth down and 10-yards to the goal line. Harper went for the end zone with a pass attempt but Brady Tucker was in position to knock the ball away and turning the ball over to the Lions deep in their own territory at the 10-yard line.
First down brought Holliday with the rushing attack for a three yard gain. On second down Benton took the hand-off out of the backfield for what appeared to be a large gain but the Lions were penalized for holding on the play, moving the ball back to the 8-yard line. On the replay of down, Holliday got the call to carry and picked up and additional four yards as time expired on the first half with the Lions holding the lead by six points on the only touchdown of the game.
Crowe lined up deep and made the reception on Benton's second half opening kick near the 30-yard line where he immediately took a knee to set up Harper and the Panthers offensive front. Defensive stops by Holliday, Upton, Tranum and Nairemore left the Panthers facing third down and three-yards at their own 37-yard line. Harper attempted a shuttle pass to Crowe near the line of scrimmage but the ball fell incomplete bringing up fourth down. Harper lined up and punted the ball away with Trey Snow making the reception at the 29-yard line and advancing up field to the Panthers 48-yard line before being stopped by a host of defenders. Penalty flags were thrown following the play and the ball was moved to the Panthers 38-yard line. First down brought Moore into the backfield for the stop on Upton with Benton fighting to move the ball back to the line of scrimmage on second down. Facing third down and ten, Benton took the hand-off from Young and advanced around the right side of the line of scrimmage to pick up the first down at the Panthers 26-yard line. Young called his own number on first down but was met immediately by Harper and a host of others for the stop. Following a time-out by the Lions, Holliday took the ball four yards over right tackle setting up third down and seven for the Lions at the Panther 23-yard line. Upton got the call to advance the ball taking it over the left side of the line where he was met for the solo tackle by Andrew Adcock. Facing fourth down and three in the Panthers red-zone, Benton took the ball up the middle for the first down at the 12-yard line before being tackled by Crowe, Kobe Webb and others. Holliday rushed for an additional two yards leaving the Lions facing second down and goal at the eight yard line. Benton took the ball across the line of scrimmage close to the goal line but the Lions were penalized for holding. Following the penalty, from the 22-yard line, Young attempted a pass connection with Snow but the pass fell incomplete setting up third and goal. Third down brought a turn-over with Noah Barnett intercepting Youngs pass setting the Panthers offense up deep in their own territory.
First down brought a deep pass down field from Harper in an attempt to connect with Stidham but Hubbert was on coverage for the Lions. Harper called his own number on second down picking up five yards on the rushing attack and moving the ball to the 29-yard line. On third down the Panthers were penalized for delay of game moving the ball back to the 24-yard line and on the replay of down, the Panthers were penalized again for a false start moving the ball further back just beyond the 20-yard line. Harper went to the air attack and connected with Moore over the middle but Upton made the stop leaving the Panthers facing fourth down and four yards at their own 31-yard line. Benton made his way across the offensive line into the backfield for the initial contact bringing Moore down for the sack with assistance by Tranum, Brady Tucker and other defenders with the sack turning the ball over to the Lions deep in the Panthers territory.
First down brought Upton out of the backfield with the rushing attack for a four yard gain. On second down Upton continued his rushing attack gaining an additional three yards before Holliday took over ball carrying duties. Facing third and three at the 23-yard line, Holliday was stopped at the line of scrimmage by a host of defenders setting up fourth down. Determined to fight for the needed yardage, Holliday burst his way up the middle to the 14-yard line for the first down dragging would be tacklers behind him with Fincher, Sawyer Lynch, Harper and others finally dragging him down for the stop. First down brought Benton out of the backfield with the rushing attack inching the ball closer to the 8-yard line before being stopped by a host of defenders. On second down Upton took the hand-off around the left side line advancing to the 1-yard line where he was ruled down as time expired on the third quarter of play and bringing the varsity scrimmage of the preseason game to an end.
Seventh Grade Quarterback Brodie Silas led the Junior Varsity offense to the field with the ball being placed at the 30-yard line for the first offensive drive for the Lions. Gage Key took charge of the rushing duties on the Lions first four plays of the offensive drive moving the ball to the 40-yard line for the first down. Sticking with the rushing attack, Silas called on Key to continue carrying the ball on first and second down with Key moving the ball behind his blockers deeper to the 44-yard line. Facing third down and six yards, Blake Anthony took the hand-off and fought for an additional three yards with the rushing attack leaving the Junior Varsity Lions facing fourth down and three yards. The Lions were penalized on fourth down for movement and turned the ball over on downs to the Panthers.
The Panthers offensive front lined up at their own 30-yard line for their first possession of play. On first down Nick Selman and a host of other defenders made the stop leaving the Panthers facing second down and ten yards. On second down Anthony, Brodie Porter and others made the stop but with the snap of the ball the Junior Panthers signal caller raced down field to the end zone untouched for the quick six. The two point attempt on the PAT was unsuccessful as the Panthers ball carrier was stopped short of the goal. With 6:47 remaining in the game the Panthers were on the scoreboard.
The Lions second possession once again started on the 30-yard line with Key returning to the rushing charge up the middle for an eight yard gain. Second down brought penalty flags against the young Lions for a false start moving the ball back to the 33-yard line. The replay of down brought additional misery for the junior Lions as Key was met in the backfield for the stop. Third down brought Key once again up the middle advancing up field to the 42-yard line for the first down. On first down Silas called upon Gage Alexander to take the ball around the right side with Alexander advancing for four yards. Second down brought flags against the Lions for a delay moving the ball back to the 43-yard line and with the snap of the ball Key once again rushed up the middle where he was met by a host of defenders for the stop after a 3-yard gain turning the ball over to the Panthers on downs.
The Junior Panthers approached their final drive of the game with the passing attack on first down and moving the ball along the right side line to the Lions 33-yard line. On first down Logan Moye fought thru the offensive line making the sack on the Panthers Quarterback for a seven yard loss. Facing second down and seventeen, the Panthers young Quarterback mishandled the ball but recovered for the Panthers at mid-field. Following a time-out by the Panthers coaching staff, the offensive plan reverted to the passing attack but Brodie Porter remained in position knocking the ball away and turning the ball over on fourth down to the Lions.
With time ticking away quickly, Anthony got the call to fight for yardage from the 30-yard line. He advanced the ball for six yards and on second down Key took the hand-off from Silas rushing around the right end for additional yardage as time expired on the game clock leaving the Junior Lions six points behind the Junior Panthers.
Comments from Head Coach Lamar Harris:
"Over all I was very pleased with our discipline and our guys efforts on the field. We had numerous questions leading up to this game tonight and some of those questions are still of concern. The pre-season game was good for our guys, especially for the younger guys and those guys who find themselves playing in new positions on our team this year. We got some answers from the scrimmage game tonight but there were some obvious mistakes made and we will work hard during our practice week ahead as we work with the players to correct those mistakes. We were proud to have our loyal fan base traveling tonight in the rainy and wet conditions and we appreciate their dedicated support to our guys and to our program. With this preseason game under our belts, we are now looking forward to opening our regular season play next week in our home stadium and we hope to make some adjustments during the practice week ahead to assist our guys in meeting their team goals."
Last Updated on Monday, 22 August 2016 06:28