Thursday, August 26, 2010
Friday football at H.W. Byers
By CLAUDE VINSON
The H.W. Byers Lions had their season opener on their home field last Friday evening. This would be the first real test to determine if the Lions were ready for varsity prime time. Their opponent would be the Cougars of Coldwater.
The Lions kicked off and the receiving Cougar was met upon reception at his own 31-yard line. Right away the Lion defense hit the Cougar line. Coldwater drew a flag, and facing long yardage, launched a deep pass which was picked by Trelorenz Stephens. A couple of plays later, he took a direct shotgun snap from center, faked an end around and picked up a first down for Byers at the Cougar 24. After a penalty, Byers’ quarterback Anthony Rubin took the snap, faked right and threw a flare. which was taken in by the tight end Courtney Fitchpatrick for the score. The two-point attempt failed but the Lions had drawn first blood at 6-0.
The Cougars got their first down on a run by Keithdrick Mack, a wide receiver. They were set back by a holding call and another loss in the backfield had them at a third and 20. A couple of plays up the middle and the Cougars were back at the mid-field marker. A well executed option from the QB, Demetrius Bonner, to Mack, and this time he broke it all the way. The score was nullified by a block in the back. The Lions drew an unsportsmanlike flag which moved Coldwater solidly into Lion territory. The horn sounded, ending the first quarter at 6-0 after Bonner had picked up two successive first downs for the visitors.
After the change of direction, and operating inside the red zone, Bonner hit Mack for six. A straight buck up the middle by Justin Sipp, the full back, and Coldwater took the lead 8-6.
Coldwater’s kick went directly to Stephens who trucked it down the left side to the 34. An illegal block set the Lions back. Rubin passed during a blitz and the ball was tipped to Antjuan Moore, a Cougar defensive back who went all the way but had the play called back on a penalty. The Cougars kept the ball on the ground and pushed for a first down to Byers’ 38. They incurred another long penalty and had to punt on fourth and long, the first punt of the game. The ball was downed on the one. There was 4:35 left in the half.
Byers hit the line for no gain. They hit it again for a couple of yards then gave the ball to Dominic Jones. The fullback bulled his way to the 31. It took about five minutes for the officials to settle a downs dispute. When play resumed, Stephens grabbed a first down for Byers and then fumbled on the next play. The Cougars ran it to the 10 and a penalty advanced it to the 5. Sipp took it in from there and converted for two more to make it 16-6. Byers couldn’t gain any ground in the remaining time and the half ended 16-6.
The Cougars tried an onside kick but it was immediately covered by the Lions. The first play saw a snap go too high, which threw Rubin off his stride, and he lost ground. The referee made the “sitting bull” sign indicating a delay of game. This brought a fourth down for the Lions and once again the ball sailed high over the head of the QB. Byers tried to turn it up field but sent the ball over on downs.
Coldwater had a man open in the end zone but he dropped the ball. The visitors came back with a first down at the 20. The Cougars were using the legs of Bonner and Sipp to move the ball and the clock. Coldwater gambled on fourth down and Ronnie Dennis stopped the Cougars by meeting the ball carrier chest to chest in the back field.
Byers got the bonus call, a roughing the passer penalty and a first down at the 30. But the offense stalled and the bonus shifted to Coldwater on the punt attempt when another errant snap went over the punter into the end zone. It was covered by a trio of Cougars. They converted for two and the third quarter ended 24-6.
Jones gave Byers a first on the kick at the 30. The ball went to the 40 on a penalty. On what looked like a broken play Marquis Moore escaped and turned up field for a hefty gain. Byers was penalized back to the 35. Ladarrious Jones took a hand off, came out of the backfield and out ran pursuers for a 65-yard score. Rubin hit Dennis for the extra two. This pulled the Lions to within 10 at 24-14 with 9:52 left in the th.
Runs by Mack and Sipp put Coldwater in the red zone, but with a timely interception by Eric Hunter and Byers was back in business at the 27. Next was a pass caught in heavy traffic by Shantez Hearn for about 9 yards. A quick hitter over center by D. Jones and the ball life was extended. However progress stalled and Byers gambled on a fourth-down toss which fell short. The ball went over on downs.
The rigors of the game were taking their toll on a fresh varsity squad, playing against a well-seasoned program, but the Lions showed no signs of quitting. It was late in the fourth and they were still playing hard. Bonner scored on a keeper to make the score 30-14 after the PAT failed.
Byers would score one more time to make the final score 30-20.
“I think inexperience beat us more than anything,” said James Kimbrough, head coach at H.W. Byers. “It was our first, full-length varsity game. We got tired.
“But it’s a building process. We’re happy to be this far in this short amount of time.”
The Lions will take their pride on the road to neighboring Holly Springs High School this Friday, Aug. 27. It will be the season opener for the Hawks.
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