Saturday, September 04, 2010

SPORTS>>Lions tear up Falcons, spoil debut of Hatcher

Special to The Leader

The Searcy Lions gave their fans something to be happy about Friday night even if head coach Tim Harper wasn’t completely satisfied.

Searcy handed the North Pulaski Falcons a 56-0 loss to begin new head coach Terrod Hatcher’s career on a sour note.

Dezmond Stegall passed for 214 yards and four touchdowns, while adding close to 100 yards on the ground. That may have not been the best performance of the game by the Lions, as B.J. Slaughter had two receiving touchdowns, two interceptions and a punt return for the touchdown.

“B.J. really had a great game tonight,” Harper said. “He’s got great speed and is really one of the best wide receivers and defensive backs in the state. He’s going to be playing college ball somewhere.”

Jacob Mowrer had a solid second half for Searcy, catching touchdown passes of 24 and 66 yards in the second quarter.

Searcy’s offense was not rolling early however, as North Pulaski’s defense played well enough to keep the game scoreless through the first quarter.

North Pulaski’s inability to get anything going on offense eventually wore down the defense as it tried to hold off the Lions on the short field.

“We have to get the offensive line together,” Hatcher said. “They weren’t doing anything out there.”

The Falcons’ offense was plagued with four interceptions, a pair of turnovers and several mistakes that didn’t result in turnovers.

While the scoreboard didn’t show it, Searcy’s offense wasn’t clicking on all cylinders either. The Lions’ first score in the second half came on fourth-and-11 after the offense stalled for three straight plays deep in Falcon territory.

“We were completely out of sync on offense,” Harper said. “I don’t know if the guys were nervous because they actually have some expectations this year, but we’re so much better than that. We’ve got a long ways to go if we’re going to handle a team like Batesville next week.”

Searcy’s defense did earn plenty of praise from Harper after it shut down the Falcons. Andrew Moore added two interceptions to Slaughter’s pair of interceptions.

While North Pulaski’s defense was better than the offense, the eventual breakdowns didn’t please Hatcher.

“We had too many breakdowns all over the field on defense,” Hatcher said. “We have to get them straightened out before next week’s game.”

Hatcher was asked about what the Falcons needed to do to get ready for Oak Grove on a short holiday week.

“Oh, it won’t be a short week for those guys,” Hatcher said. “They’ll be on the practice field Monday.”

Hatcher, 23, is the youngest coach in the state after moving up from offensive coordinator late in the offseason.

He applied and took the job at the urging of his players when previous head coach Rick Russell departed after one year to return to Jacksonville as head coach.

Russell had been an assistant at Jacksonville for 14 years.

Hatcher played for Russell as a defensive back when Hatcher was at Jacksonville. Hatcher was also a running back for the Red Devils, and it was Russell who tabbed Hatcher as his offensvie coordinator at North Pulaski.

Hatcher was named Falcons head coach just before practice began on Aug. 2.