Thursday, September 9, 2010
Lions fall victim to Eagles’ rally
By BARRY BURLESON
The H.W. Byers Lions had their first varsity football victory within their grasp Friday night. But they couldn’t hang on.
Tupelo Christian rallied from a 11-point deficit in the fourth quarter and saddled the Lions with a 31-30 setback.
“It was the worst kind of loss – to have it and let it slip away,” said coach James Kimbrough. “The kids were disappointed, but it’s a growing process for them.
“We have made a lot of improvements on both sides of the ball. They beat us by 18 last year.”
Byers, playing on its home field, looked to be in control most of the night.
The Eagles scored first on Dallas Finley’s 51-yard run and Clint McGraw’s extra-point kick.
Byers quickly answered to go ahead 8-7 after one period. Dominic Jones scored on a 1-yard plunge. Christopher Echols cashed in the two-point conversion.
Byers won the second quarter 16-12 to take a 24-19 lead at the half.
Echols threw to Ronnie Dennis for 15 yards and six points. Courtney Fitzpatrick carried for the two.
Tupelo Christian answered with two touchdowns - one on Finley’s 32-yard run and another on a 32-yard pass from Will Cockrell to Jaeger Livingston. The Eagles were not successful on point-after tries after the two scores.
Tupelo Christian’s three-point lead in the second quarter did not last long. Byers’ Quantario Stigger returned the kickoff 92 yards for a score. Echols ran for the two-point conversion.
The Lions upped their margin in the third quarter. Jones ran 35 yards for a touchdown. A try-for-two failed. The lead was 30-19.
But in the fourth, Cockrell found Zachary Taylor for a 20-yard touchdown and then Ron Lavigne scored the game winner on a 1-yard run with 2:19 to go in the game.
“Tupelo Christian is more experienced, and that showed in the fourth,” Coach Kimbrough said. “We left the door open with some opportunities for them and they capitalized.”
He named lineman Quinton McKinney the most valuable player for the game. McKinney had to leave the game in the third quarter after sacking the quarterback and suffering a separated shoulder.
“We missed him in the fourth quarter – on offense and defense,” Kimbrough said.
The Lions (0-3) will not play this Friday. They welcome Jumpertown Friday, Sept. 17, for homecoming. Pre-game festivities start at 6:30 p.m.
“The off week is coming at a good time,” he said. “We just got our starting quarterback (Echols) back from an injury and we need to get him and the receivers on the same page.
“Plus, we’re kind of beat up and injured and we need to get healthy for that last stretch of games.”
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