By Melissa Meador
SMITHVILLE – Smithville’s defense made a third-quarter stand, and its offense caught up to pick up a key 48-36 Division 1-1A win over Falkner.
“We were out-athleted all over the field, and our guys never gave up. They dug in and fought the whole game,” Smithville coach Bubba Tacker said. “That’s just Smithville football.”
Falkner running back Jeramie Lawrence struck quick, taking the Eagles’ first play of the game 63 yards to the house for a 6-0 lead.
Smithville (7-2, 5-1) answered three plays later with Drew Lann hitting Dee Moore from 40 yards out for the Seminoles to take a 7-6 lead.
The Eagles (6-3, 5-1) marched back down the field on 63-yard drive on the next possession which ended in a Lawrence 9-yard scoring run. Lann intercepted a Jase Stroupe pass for a possible pick-six, but the score was called back on a penalty.
Tyler Hood’s 29-yard scoring run midway through the second put Smithville in the lead 13-12.
Falkner capitalized on the next fumble as Lawrence added his third score of the game, this one from four yards out. Hood picked off Stroupe in the end zone to hold the Eagles at an 18-13 halftime lead.
Smithville’s opening drive of the second half stalled on fourth-and-1 from the Eagles 24, but the ’Noles were able to capitalize on a Falkner fumble with a 55-yard scoring drive capped off with a 2-yard run from Lann to get the lead back.
The ’Noles padded their lead with Neil Knight breaking loose for 61-yard score for a 27-18 lead to open the fourth. Stroupe hooked up with Ethan Prather for a 32-yard score to cut the lead to three.
Seal the deal
Smithville iced the win with a 27-yard run from Lann to set up a 1-yard score from Hood and a 47-yard scoring run from Moore. Hood added another score later in the quarter, and Stroupe hooked up with Chris Blackmon for a pair of Falkner scores.
The ’Noles had three in triple digits in yards on the ground – Knight with 147, Moore with 128 and Lann with 126. Falkner’s Lawrence had 164 yards on 19 carries.
“They came out and hit us in the mouth,” Falkner coach Cory Armstrong said. “I felt like their quarterback (Lann) was the difference maker.”