Thursday, October 20, 2011
Lions rally for big district win
By BARRY BURLESON
H.W. Byers rallied with 24 unanswered points in the second half Friday night to win a crucial Region 1-1A game at Thrasher.
The roaring Lions improved to 4-4 overall and 3-2 in district play with the 38-20 win.
“Our defense really stepped up,” said coach James Kimbrough, whose team trailed 20-14 at the half. “We forced a fumble on the opening possession (of the second half). Then we took it down and scored and went up 22-20.
“Our defense was lights out in the second half, and we scored almost every possession.”
Byers took a quick 6-0 lead in the first quarter, thanks to Trelorenz Stephen’s 18-yard touchdown run. A try-for-two was not successful.
Two minutes later Marquis Moore got loose and dashed 79 yards around the end for another score. Stephen cashed in the two.
Byers led 14-0 with 8:53 to go in the first quarter.
The rest of the first half was all Rebels. They scored three touchdowns to go up by six. Demario Dawkins caught 5-yard and 15-yard passes from J.T. Huddleston. Oneal Cummings ran 24 yards for six. Tanner Dodds hit two of three extra-point kicks.
With 8:39 to go in the second quarter and Byers leading 14-7, the Lions recovered a Thrasher fumble but the officials ruled there was an inadvertent whistle on the play.
“It was a momentum swing,” Kimbrough said. “Instead of us having the ball at the 50, they kept it and went down and scored.”
But an inspired Byers squad regrouped for the second half.
“We made some adjustments, and moved some people on defense,” Kimbrough said. “We attacked more and crossed our fingers and hoped they didn’t throw. We committed everybody to the run.
“Plus, on offense, we cleaned up our mistakes.”
Stephen, named the most valuable player for the game, scored all three second-half touchdowns and all the two-point conversions.
His scoring runs covered 25, 10 and 3 yards.
“The kids believe we can score,” Kimbrough said. “If we just get the stops, we can score.”
Byers held the football for more than seven minutes in the fourth quarter and just ran between the tackles.
Kimbrough also wanted to give lots of credit to the Lions’ offensive line.
“They helped win the game just as much as the skill players,” he said.
“Friday night, all of our kids responded to the challenge. Thrasher has a good football team.”
Stephen also led the Byers defense, with 10 tackles on the night.
“He had a great game,” Kimbrough said.
The district games continue this Friday when Byers hosts Coldwater at 7 p.m.
“We’re right in the middle of it (the playoff race),” he said. “The kids are under pressure; the coaches are under pressure. We’re playing with something on the line, which is why you compete.”
This is the first year for a still young Byers football program to compete in a district.
“Friday night might have been our biggest win yet – to come from behind and win on the road when we’re fighting to get in the playoffs,” Kimbrough said.
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