By Lawanna Monk
The Lovelady Lions knocked off Anderson-Shiro 46-14 on the road Friday, Oct. 16 to stay unbeaten both in district and for the season.
Coupled with Groveton's loss to Centerville, the Lions now sit in sole possession of first place with a spotless 2-0 record, while Groveton, Anderson, Centerville and Hull-Daisetta all hold 1-1 records.
In last week's game, the upset-minded Owls scored first but the Lions led 16-7 at the end of the first quarter and built a 30-7 halftime lead.
After Anderson scored late in the third quarter to trim the lead to 16, the Lions closed out the game with 16 unanswered points for a 32-point margin of victory.
The Owls returned the opening kickoff 19 yards to their 39 and put together a 15-play scoring drive. Anderson scored from the 2 yard line and then kicked the extra point to lead 7-0 with 5:37 left in the first quarter.
The explosive Lion offense quickly answered back, scoring with 3:54 on the clock. Emanual Williams returned the Owl kickoff 29 yards to the Lion 49 and then reached the Owl 49 on the next play. Quarterback Lee Holsey's pass was on target but an Owl defender was flagged for pass interference, moving the ball to the Owl 35. After Williams ran for a gain of 5, Holsey connected with Courtell McQuirter in the end zone for the TD. Jacob Jeffus carried the ball in for the 2- point conversion to put the Lions in front 8-7.
Unable to move the ball, Anderson set up to punt but a fake punt attempt failed and the Lions took over on the Anderson-Shiro 42. Williams carried for a short gain, Holsey passed to McQuirter at the 20 yard line to set up a touchdown pass from Holsey to Petey Little with :31 on the clock. Jeffus passed to Little for the 2-point conversion that made it 16-7.
A defensive stand by the Lions early in the second quarter forced a short Owl punt that set up the Lovelady offense at their 44 yard line. Williams escaped on a long run that put the Lions inside the 10 and Lee Holsey scored from the 4 on a keeper with 8:17 left in the half. Devon Hammock's kick was good and the Lions led 23-7.
Anderson returned Hammock's kickoff to the Owl 45, but the Lion defense dug in to force another punt. Kade White and Little stopped the Owl running back for a short gain, Da'Mario Mattingly and Little combined for another loss, and a broken up pass brought up fourth down.
Williams fielded the punt and made a good return, but a Lion penalty moved the ball back to their 25. Lovelady quickly gained back the penalty yardage as Williams carried the ball over into Owl territory and McQuirter took it to the 35. The offensive line of Blake Johnson, Brandon Pollock, Mason Lowery, Rogelio Torres and Mason Phillips holding off the Owl defense, Holsey had plenty of time in the back field to look for his receivers and found Jeffus over the top for the touchdown toss with 4:48 left in the half. Hammock's made it 30-7.
Late in the third quarter Anderson-Shiro forced a Lion punt by Jeffus that rolled into the end zone and put together an 80-yard scoring drive. The 24-yard TD trimmed the gap to 30-14 with 2:57 on the clock.
Anderson attempted an onside kick that went out of bounds at the 50 yard line, where the Lion offense went to work. Williams was run out of bounds at the 42 on the first play and then forced out of bounds again at the 38. Holsey gave the ball to Williams, who ran to the left and then cut back to the center to reach the 9 yard line. Running to the left on his next carry, Williams was met by the defense and cut back to the right side. Again meeting opposition, the determined running back cut back to the middle and found an opening to the end zone. Hammock's kick sailed through the uprights to give the Lions a 37-14 cushion with 1:09 in the third.
Early in the fourth quarter the Lions only had to travel three yards for their next touchdown after a bad snap rolled past the Owl punter. As he chased it down, Hunter Murray took him down at the Owl 3 yard line and Williams marched the ball in for the TD with 11:41 on the clock. The kick was no good, but the Lions were firmly in control 43-14 with 11:41 left in the game.
A 29-yard field goal by Hammock provided the final points for the Lions as Jeffus set the ball on the 12 and Hammock split the uprights to make it 46-16.