Thursday, October 25, 2012
Outmanned Lions battle hard in loss
By BARRY BURLESON
James Kimbrough and his H.W. Byers Lions had a decision to make before last Friday’s trip to Coldwater.
“We had two options, forfeit or go play,” he said.
The roster was down to just 13 players after seven players were suspended – six due to a melee versus Thrasher the week before and another for school disciplinary reasons.
“I asked them, and they said they’d rather go play for a playoff spot,” he said. “We didn’t win but we made them earn it.”
Byers battled the Cougars, who were at full force with a much deeper roster, to an 8-all tie at the half before falling 28-8. The Lions dropped to 3-6 overall and 3-3 in Region 1-1A, while Coldwater went to 5-4 and 3-3.
“We were outmanned, and all I could ask my kids to do was to play as hard as they could,” Kimbrough said. “And these young men gave it everything they had.”
Quarterback Trelorenz Stephen scored the Lions’ lone touchdown in the second quarter and also kept the football for the two.
It stayed 8-8 until about four minutes remaining in the third quarter.
That’s when the Cougars began their run of 20 unanswered points.
Two of those ineligible to play for Byers were starting offensive linemen. The Cougars blocked five punts in the game.
“Almost all of their points came off of punt blocks,” Kimbrough said. “Blocked punts set them up in good field position and gave them some easy scores.
“They knew we were missing linemen. They knew where to attack us. They challenged our offensive line.”
He said defensively, his Lions played very well, particularly considering the good field position the Cougars enjoyed most of the night due to the blocked punts.
“We held them to eight points in the first half (when three of the blocked punts occurred),” he said.
Byers had 179 total yards on offense, 100 of that coming on 20 carries by Marquis Moore.
Coach Kimbrough named Dominic Jones the MVP for the game. The fullback was forced to play on the offensive line because of the suspensions and “never complained,” the coach said. He also played well on defense, according to Kimbrough.
Mathematically, the Lions are not out of the playoff chase.
“We have to win the last two and hope Coldwater loses a game,” Kimbrough said.
Next up for Byers is a home contest against Falkner, 8-1 overall and 5-1 in the district.
“We’re going into a must-win situation against a quality team like Falkner,” he said. “I know our guys will continue to battle.”
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