Moral victories don’t count in the standings, a fact that was impressed upon the Lindale Eagles this past Friday after playing Marshall’s Mavericks tough for the first half only to eventually suffer a 47-21 defeat at Eagle Stadium.
Lindale Head Coach Chris Cochran has been around long enough to realize the middle part of the game is just as crucial as the first and last.
“Our focus has to be on winning the last four minutes of the first half and the first four minutes of the second half,’’ he said. “If I could take anything back (from last Friday’s game) it would be the last series of the first half and the opening kickoff of the second half.’’
Marshall erased a 14-12 Lindale lead in the final 90 seconds of the first half to grab a 20-14 advantage.
Then the Eagles fumbled the opening kickoff of the second half which the Mavericks converted into another score to push their advantage to 27-14.
After falling behind 6-0 on Marshall’s third play of the game, Lindale regrouped and took the lead on a three yard plunge from Jordan Jenkins.
On Lindale’s next possession, the Eagles marched to the Mavericks’ 10, where Dillon Heinaman found Dylan Worrell for a touchdown for a 14-12 advantage.
Cochran and his coaches felt the best way to keep Marshall’s high octane offense in check was to keep it on the sideline. For the most part, the strategy worked.
“Offensively, we did a good job of playing keep away,’’ he said. “That was our plan going into the game. We needed to hold on to the ball to keep their offense contained.’’
Jenkins had another standout performance for the Eagles and has become one of the most feared runners in 9-5A.
“Jordan has gotten so much better week to week,’’ Cochran said. “He’s gained confidence and he’s been a tremendous asset for us.’’
Defensively, Cochran pointed out the performance of senior defensive lineman Jaymond Jackson.
“(The coaches) felt he finally had the breakout game we were expecting him to have,’’ Cochran said. “It all goes back to the past two weeks of hard practice for him. The harder you practice, the better you are going to play.’’
Lindale now takes the long trip to Nacogdoches for another district game. The Dragons held on to defeat Jacksonville, 45-41 last Thursday to even its season record to 2-2.
A main point of emphasis for the Lindale coaching staff this week has been to make sure the players understand that just because they played a good half against Marshall, they can afford to overlook Nacogdoches.
“We need to guard against complacency,’’ said Cochran. “We can’t be proud of getting beat, because at the end of the day, it’s still going to be either a W or an L.’’
The Dragons are led on offense by senior quarterback Jake Smith.
“Their quarterback is really good,’’ said Cochran. “He’s got a good feel for the offense and he throws the ball well.’’
Defensively, the Eagles will have to account for nose tackle Brad Williams, “the best player on their defense,’’ according to Cochran.
And while the coach was pleased with parts of last week’s game, it still resulted in the Eagles’ third loss of the year.
“We tried to remain upbeat the whole week, but (the Marshall loss) is still unfinished business,’’ Cochran said.