A leaky second quarter proved to be their undoing on the opening night of the football season in Kaufman last Friday and now the Lindale High School Eagles will try to rebound against the Forney Jackrabbits Friday night at Eagle Stadium.
Kaufman, one of the playoff contenders in District 8-5A (DII), scored on its first play of the game and never looked back, building a 42-19 halftime lead en route to a 52-33 win.
The Eagles had their moments on offense, scoring on their third possession of the game to narrow the gap to 7-6 as Jordan Jenkins scored from 15 yards out. In the second period, the Eagles managed to again draw close at 14-12 when quarterback Dillon Heinaman connected with Colton Brown on a four-yard pass.
From that point on, however, Lindale couldn’t stem the tide and the Lions’ speed and quickness continued to burn the Eagles’ defense.
“Obviously, we didn’t want to lose like that,’’ said Lindale Head Coach Chris Cochran. “It’s not fun, but we are going to use this to help us grow as a team.’’
The coach also noted something he learned from current University of Arkansas Head Coach Chad Morris, who spoke to a group of coaches this past summer.
“He said it was important to win the “middle,’’ Cochran said. “This means, you have to win the last four minutes of the first half and the first four minutes of the second half.
“This is exactly what happened to us,’’ he said. “We were outscored in that time frame 21-0 and that was the difference in the game.’’
Offensively, the Eagles managed to move the ball with 437 total yards – 266 of those through the air.
“I thought we played well offensively, but we just weren’t as physical or consistent as we needed to be,’’ he said.
Cochran pointed out the contribution of wide receiver Brennan Moore, who had eight receptions for 121 yards.
“He had a really good summer (in 7-on-7 competition) and has invested so much in this season,’’ Cochran said. “It’s gratifying to see his hard work paying off.’’
Defensively, free safety Airik Williams “grew up quite a bit during the game,’’ the coach said.
“He’s so tough mentally and physically he was able to make several tackles for us.’’
On special teams, Walker Oglesby was cited for his performance with two tackles and a fumble recovery.
Forney fell to the Richardson Berkner Rams, 22-17, in the Jackrabbits’ home opener, keeping the game close until the fourth period. Forney was down 15-10 at the half.
However, with just under four minutes to play, the Jackrabbits fumbled in their own endzone and the Rams recovered to claim the win.
Cochran and the coaching staff are counting on their players to have a short memory after last week’s setback.
“I thought we didn’t handle adversity very well and I thought we would,’’ the coach said of the setback. “But I told them after the game that I couldn’t wait for a few weeks from now so we can see how much we learned (from the defeat).’’