Tuesday, August 21, 2012

SPORTS STORY >> Lonoke offense stings Hornets

Leader sportswriter

Junior Quarterback Grant Dewey and the Lonoke Jack-rabbits put together an aerial assault against Maumelle, beating the Hornets 49-21 on Monday.

The scrimmage at Maumelle High School was Lonoke’s final tune-up before opening the regular season next Friday.

Maumelle had no answer for the Jackrabbit spread attack as Lonoke reached the end zone on its first five offensive series. Lonoke turned the ball over on downs on its sixth drive. After Maumelle’s next snap, the Jackrabbit defense forced a fumble and defensive end Reid McKenzie returned the fumble to the Hornets’ eight-yard line. Running back Dra Offord punched it in two plays later.

“The kids have been working hard,” said Lonoke coach Doug Bost after the game. “So, we were just ready to come out here and go against somebody different. The kids came out with a lot of energy and a lot of excitement. So, that was great.”

Lonoke’s defense forced Maumelle’s offense to go three-and-out on its first series. The Jackrabbit offense then marched eight plays down the field, capping off the drive with a one-yard touchdown run from senior running back Eric Williams. The Jackrabbit defense forced another three-and-out on the Hornets’ next possession, and the offense got back to work.

The Jackrabbits then went six plays down the field before Dewey hit junior wideout Blake Mack up the middle for a 31-yard touchdown reception with 3:04 left in the first quarter. Jose Garcia’s extra point put Lonoke up 14-0.

Maumelle did find some offensive rhythm its next series. Senior running back Terry Rhoades, who has 4.5 speed, broke away down the sideline for a 32-yard touchdown run to make it a one-possession game.

But Lonoke answered with a three-play drive, capped off by a 58-yard touchdown reception by versatile senior D.J. Burton.

Dewey was stellar in his three quarters of action, completing 25 of 33 passes for 378 yards, five touchdowns and no interceptions. The only ill-advised throw he made was a lob ball in Mack’s direction. Two Hornet defenders had better position on the ball, but Mack leaped over them and made a juggling, highlight reel-worthy catch.

Mack, who led Lonoke in receiving with 38 catches for 544 yards and six touchdowns last year as a sophomore, finished the night with eight catches for 128 yards and a touchdown.

“He bobbled it four or five times and he came down with it,” Bost said about Mack’s acrobatic catch. “That was great concentration. He stepped up and made a good play for us. He’s probably going to see some double-teams, because teams know who he is. He was our leading receiver last year. But if you want to double-team him, we have D.J. over here. We have three or four receivers we feel good about, and I think we did a good job of spreading the ball around to those other guys tonight.”

Junior Kody Smith caught the next two touchdown passes for Lonoke. The first came on a 6-yard reception inside the Maumelle 10-yard line with 8:50 left in the second quarter. The second was a 30-yard reception just over two minutes later to put Lonoke up 35-7.

Maumelle scored again before the half on a 75-yard deep post play that caught the Lonoke defense off guard.

The Jackrabbits then had its first failed drive of the evening, but got it back on the Hornets’ next snap by forcing a fumble that McKenzie returned to the Maumelle 8-yard line.

Offord later scored on a 2-yard run with 2:52 left in the half. Garcia’s extra point made the score 42-14.

Lonoke was the first to score in the second half. After starting on their own 24-yard line, the Jackrabbits scored on the fourth play of the drive, an 8-yard touchdown reception from Smith – his third of the evening.

Smith, like Mack, had a dominant game at receiver with eight catches for 122 yards and three scores.

Rhoades scored the final touchdown on a 4-yard run with 20 seconds left in the third quarter. Hunter Cockrell kicked the extra point to set the final margin.

Both teams limited most of their starters to three quarters of action. The Jackrabbits finished the exhibition with 428 yards of total offense, most of it coming through the air. Maumelle finished with 296.

The Jackrabbits host Star City on Friday, Aug. 31 to kickoff the regular season at home.