Thursday, September 1, 2005

Tennessee trip tough for Indians


It was a long road trip for the Byhalia Indians Friday night, in more ways than one.

The Indians opened the season with a three-and-a-half-hour bus ride to Tiptonville, Tenn., where they lost their season opener 41-6 to the highly-touted Lake County Falcons.

Plus, the football game was delayed half an hour at the start and an hour and a half more at halftime due to lightning. The Indians arrived back home about 3:30 a.m. Saturday.

“It was tough, to say the least,” said head coach Gaylon Jones.

The Falcons were 8-3 last year and return 21 of 22 starters.

“They’re a good team, picked to be in the state championship in Class A,” Jones said. “That’s why we picked them up on our schedule. We want our kids to compete against these type teams. We’re not playing an easy schedule; hopefully these games will help us in our conference.”

The Indians were 4-6 a year ago and will be entering district play in Class 3A this year after three years as an independent.

After the early lightning delay, Lake County struck with some lightning of its own. The Falcons returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown and added a two-point conversion.

“Needless to say, it was not an auspicious debut,” Jones said.

The Indians’ first series stalled, and Lake County returned the punt to inside the Byhalia 10-yard line and “scored right away,” Jones said. The home team added another two-point conversion.

“We were down 16-0 before we got our helmets on straight,” he said.

But the Indians bounced back, getting some first quarter points of their own when Montrell Hardaway threw to Cordell Jefferson for a 12-yard score. The try-for-two failed.

“They basically dominated us the rest of the half,” Jones said.

Byhalia trailed 35-6 at the break.

The Falcons added one more touchdown in the second half and missed the extra point.

“We made some adjustments at halftime and slowed them down,” Jones said. “Plus, we had a few more chances to score but missed some open receivers.”

He said his Indians were not holding their heads down.

“The kids’ attitudes were good,” Jones said. “There was no pointing of fingers. They stayed positive. Those are little things, but they’re important.”

Another positive was the fact that Byhalia was only penalized four times in the opening contest.

“As far as how we handled ourselves there, it was a vast improvement (over last year),” Jones said.

“There were some positives. It’s still a 41-6 loss, but we feel we’re progressing.”

The Indians play their first home game this Friday night against Ackerman, which lost its season opener 41-13 to Carthage.

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