Thursday, November 3, 2011
Lions lose at Falkner
By BARRY BURLESON
H.W. Byers had averaged 53 points a game in four straight wins leading up to a trip to Falkner Thursday.
But the high-scoring offense ran into a brick wall versus the Eagles as the Lions fell 27-0 to the Region 1-1A opponent.
“They shut us down,” said James Kimbrough, head coach of the Lions. “They’re a great team. They’re 8-2 for a reason.”
Byers dropped to 5-5 overall and 4-3 in the district but clinched a state playoff berth with one regular season game left thanks to Smithville’s win Friday over Thrasher.
He said his young Lions have not faired well against bigger and stronger teams with more experience.
“They (the Eagles) used their line play to dominate the ball game,” he said. “That is pretty much where we struggle.
“That’s not taking anything away from my guys. We only have five linemen on the entire team (a 19-man roster). They’re playing as hard as they can. Sometimes, we’re just outmatched.”
The Eagles capped an 89-yard drive with Tray Woody’s 1-yard touchdown plunge at the 11:55 mark of the second quarter. The Lions stopped a try-for-two short of the end zone.
The Lions’ best shot at points came on their ensuing possession. Quarterback Anthony Rubin passed to Ronnie Dennis and Trelorenz Stephen for a pair of first downs. But the drive stalled at the Falkner 34 when Byers could not gain a first on two fourth-and-one tries.
The Eagles went up 14-0 just prior to the half. Quarterback Kendrick Williams scored from 3 yards out on a fourth-and-goal play. Hunter Hopkins cashed in the two-point conversion.
“They run the option well,” Kimbrough said. “Their quarterback is a senior with a lot of experience. We were able to stop him some, but not enough.”
Falkner took the second-half kickoff and put together another scoring drive that ate up five minutes of the clock. Williams scored on another fourth-and-goal keeper, this one from the 2-yard line. The extra-point kick missed the mark. It was 20-0.
“They (the Eagles) are satisfied with 3 or 4 yards a carry and moving the chains,” Kimbrough said. “That was their game plan, keeping our offense off the field.
“We did not run many offensive plays, and when we did, we never really got in sync. They have not given up many points all year. They’re strong in the line and at linebacker.”
Falkner’s final points came after Dustin McCoy intercepted a Byers pass and returned it to the Lions’ 31-yard line. Woody scored the six on a 1-yard carry with 10:49 left in the game. Trevor Wilson drilled the extra point.
Coach Kimbrough named Dominic Jones the most valuable player for the game. The middle linebacker led the team in tackles.
The Lions host district foe Biggersville Friday at 7 p.m. before starting the playoffs November 11 with a trip to Shaw.
“We’ve been able to bounce back from tough losses all year,” Kimbrough said. “I know our kids will be ready to go. I’m proud of them.”
This is Byers’ first season in a district with an opportunity to reach post-season play. The Lions renewed their football program in 2008 and have played as an independent up until this year.
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