Saturday, October 08, 2016

SPORTS STORY >> Lonoke falls to Southside-Batesville

Special to The Leader

The Lonoke Jackrabbits hosted the Southside-Batesville Southerners Friday night at James B. Abraham Stadium. It was homecoming for the Jackrabbits, but they could not come up with the victory to celebrate, falling 42-7 to Southside-Batesville. Turnovers and big plays by the Southerners contributed to the loss. Lonoke is now 2-4 overall and 1-2 in conference play while Southside is 4-2 and 2-1 in conference.

“We had a few turnovers that hurt us early,” said Lonoke coach Taggart Moore. “We had some stops on defense. We moved the football well. We just turned the ball over when we didn’t need to. Last week we had no turnovers, caused three, and that’s the difference in the game. We had some big plays, missed some tackles, just wasn’t our night. Hats off to Batesville-Southside, because they played great. They had a great game plan against us. We’re going to come back out next week and try to beat Helena.”

Dalton Smith returned the opening kickoff by Southside past midfield only to have the return negated by a block in the back call, so Lonoke started instead on their own 20-yard line. The Jackrabbits moved the ball down the field on carries by Xavier Hodge and Quarterback Logan Dozier to the Southerners 20-yard line before a fumble occurred and Southside recovered. Lonoke had picked up four first downs along the way, Dozier had a 15-yard carry, and Hodge a 19-yard carry.

Southside couldn’t capitalize on the turnover and turned the ball over on downs. The Jackrabbits turned the ball right back, though, as Dozier was intercepted by Kinser Tosh. This time the Southerners took advantage of the short field and went 30 yards in five plays. Mason Anderson had a 17-yard carry, then a three-yard run into the end zone. The extra point was good by Alex Branscum and the score was 7-0 with 1:28 remaining in the opening period.

Lonoke started the ensuing drive on its own 35-yard line and moved all the way to Southside’s eight-yard line. Dozier had completions to Isaac Toney for gains of ten and nine yards and a run of nine yards on which he was injured. Will Miller came in for one play to replace him and picked up a first down on fourth and one. Back in the game, Dozier’s pass on the next play was picked off by Anderson and taken 92-yards for a touchdown and a 14-0 lead with 7:41 to go in the half.

Lonoke turned the ball over on downs, but Jared Moore dropped Southside quarterback Josh Millikin for a loss of 14 yards to help force a punt.

The Southerners moved the ball all the way to the Jackrabbit 10-yard line on their next possession before Dylan Smith got Lonoke on the scoreboard with a 90-yard pick six. The extra point was good by Mario Reyes, and the lead was cut to 14-7 with only 14.4 seconds remaining until intermission. However, on only two plays the visitors struck again on a 20-yard run by Anderson and then as the half expired, Millikin hit Anderson for a 45-yard touchdown pass, extending the halftime lead to 21-7.

The Jackrabbits forced a punt on the first possession of the second half, only to be pinned at their own 8-yard line. Lonoke was driving down the field, having moved the first-down markers four times before on fourth and eight, Will Miller, now in at quarterback, was intercepted. Southside fumbled the ball right back on the next play, but then Miller was intercepted again, this time for a touchdown by Dawson Blevins. After the extra point, the score was 28-7 with 46.3 seconds remaining in the third.

Southside scored again with 8:28 to go in the fourth quarter on a 13-yard keeper by Millikin to up the advantage to 35-7. They then forced a Jackrabbit punt, and Anderson returned the punt for a touchdown to set the final score at 42-7 with 6:03 left on the clock.

Lonoke finished with 234 total yards of offense of which Hodge had 102 rushing, while the Southerners had 265 yards.

The Jackrabbits will host Helena-West Helena Central Friday night.