FRANKLIN — Veteran high school coaches like Lorena’s Ray Biles always preach to their teams that a game is four quarters, a full 48 minutes.
Lorena used every minute in picking up its first win.
The Leopards staved off a ferocious Franklin rally by holding the Lions out of the end zone on a two-point conversion attempt with 43 seconds to go. Then Lorena successfully recovered the ensuing onside kick to preserve a 21-20 season-opening win on Friday night.
Lorena (1-0) held a 21-6 lead entering the fourth quarter and seemingly needed to just put some strong drives away to salt away the win. But eighth-ranked Franklin (0-1) made the Leopards sweat. A fumble by Ben Smedshammer set up a 50-yard touchdown run by the Lions with 4:20 to go, cutting it to a one-score game.
Then Franklin scored again with 43 ticks on the clock to pull to within 21-20. The Lions, under new head coach Mark Fannin, opted to go for the win, setting up for a two-point try. The Leopards stepped up to the challenge, swarming to bring down the Lions QB on the keeper for the biggest defensive stop of the game.
Franklin led 6-0 after a messy, flag-filled first quarter. But the Leopards still had some crisp plays to come. They showed guts in going for it on 4th-and-7 on an early second-quarter drive, and the play not only worked out for a first down, but it went for a touchdown as well. Smedshammer found Jadon Porter, who fumbled the ball midway through his scamper only to recover and drag two defenders on the way to a 35-yard TD.
Later in the quarter, Smedshammer finished off a scoring drive himself by scoring on a 1-yard read option dive. That gave Lorena a 14-6 lead which it took into intermission.
Lexington 25, West 14
LEXINGTON — First the shutout got away, then the game followed.
West appeared poised to snatch a season-opening road win, leading 14-0 after three quarters. Lexington, however, had a fourth quarter for the ages, erupting for 25 straight points to steal away the victory.
Sixteen seconds into the final quarter, the Eagles’ Sheldon Springer zipped a pass to Jeremiah Jackson, who traveled 33 yards for his team’s first TD of the night. After a three-and-out from West (0-1), Jeremiah Dillon popped off a 35-yard run to the house to bring Lexington to within 14-13 with 8:58 to go, after Lexington’s PAT failed.
West had to punt again on its ensuing possession, and Amarion Cooper broke off a big return to set up a Dillon TD run of 21 yards. Suddenly, Lexington had all the momentum, leading 19-14 with 8:17 to go.
The Trojans needed an answer, and they moved the ball to their own 43 before facing a fourth-and-3. But Lexington’s defense held, and then Jarred Kerr iced the game with 2:26 left when he zipped for a 39-yard TD run.
The teams scuffled offensively in the early stages, but West broke through with the game’s first points when Lawson Kendrick squirted free for a 27-yard touchdown run at the 5:24 mark of the second quarter. His jaunt helped the Trojans take a 7-0 lead into the break.
Cameron Yoe 21, Mexia 16
MEXIA — The Yoemen bowed their necks and made their lead hold up.
Mexia pushed Cameron after falling behind 21-3, scoring a pair of second-half touchdowns to make things interesting. But the Yoemen (1-0) made the plays they needed down the stretch to pick up the road triumph and make new Mexia coach Triston Abron wait at least another week for his first win for the Blackcats.
Mexia (0-1) was working off no scrimmage, as the Blackcats had to cancel last week’s preseason tuneup due to COVID-19 concerns. Not surprisingly, they started slowly. Cameron built a 21-3 lead by halftime, with the biggest play coming on a Zane Zeinert pass of 66 yards to Za’Korien Spikes.
Trey Holdman busted out in the second half for Mexia with a pair of touchdowns, including a 75-yard scurry in the fourth quarter that brought the Blackcats to within 21-16. But that’s as close as they’d get.
Holdman finished with 81 yards on four carries, while Yoe’s Spikes made three catches for 104 yards and a TD.
Normangee 29, Bremond 14
Bremond illuminated the scoreboard first on Seth Kasowski’s 12-yard foray into the end zone at the 5:14 mark of the opening quarter. Normangee answered quickly, though, as Mason Hardy launched a 75-yard TD bomb to Izaha Jones on the ensuing possession, tying the game at 8-8.
The Panthers took the lead three minutes into the second quarter on Hardy’s second scoring toss of the night, this one to Logan Luna on a third-and-goal play. That pushed the score to 15-8, Normangee.
Bremond later stormed back to get to within 15-14, but Normangee scored twice in the fourth quarter, including Hardy’s third TD pass of the night.
Oglesby 36, Woodson 14
Thompson scored on a 70-yard kickoff return and a 23-yard TD catch, while Markum had a 44-yard fumble return to paydirt on defense to go with a 1-yard TD plunge. Davin Barrow pumped up the running game for Oglesby (1-0), carrying 13 times for a team-leading 156 yards. Barrow, Markum and Nash Shaw all contributed 10 tackles defensively as well.
Oglesby will face Morgan next week.
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