Visiting Falkner Eagles adapt on sloppy field, run hard

By Kedrick Storey/Southern Sentinel

SLADEN – Friday night in Sladen was cold, rainy and the field was more mud than grass – perfect conditions for the Falkner Eagles’ smashmouth brand of football.
On the road against the H.W. Byers Lions, the Eagles rushed up and down a sloppy field, outgaining the Lions 319-87 on the ground to win going away 54-22.
“We don’t have many problems with our offense on this kind of field,” said Falkner coach Ben Ashley. “Our style dictates that we can handle this kind of weather. Our goal was to come in here healthy and leave healthy and that’s what we did.”
The Eagles (9-1, 6-1) started fast, as Tray Woody scored on a 25-yard run on the first play from scrimmage with 11:42 to go in the opening quarter. Jermaine Lawrence set up the score with a 60-yard kickoff return.
Deniko Adams intercepted a Trelorenz Stephen pass on the Lions’ first offensive play, which the Eagles converted into a Jase Stroupe 10-yard touchdown run to lead 14-0 with 5:49 left in the first.
In the second quarter, the Eagles gave up a 46-yard TD pass from Stephens to Germaine Glass, but they got a 15-yard TD run from Lawrence and two more from Woody (10, 19) to lead 35-8 at the break.
Lawrence finished with a game-high 125 yards on 16 carries. Woody added 93 yards. Falkner ran for 249 yards in the first half, limiting Byers to 15.
Advantage, Eagles
“We had the skilled athletes, but we didn’t have the line,” said Byers coach James Kimbrough. “They were way more physical than us on the line and for how they play – smashmouth, on a wet field – it was all to their advantage.”
Quantario Stigger added a pair of second half scores Byers (3-7, 3-4). Dallas Hill had a 50-yard interception return for a TD for Falkner.
The win improved Falkner to 6-1 in Division 1-1A as they head into their regular season finale with Smithville next week in a game for the league’s No. 2 playoff seed. Ashley couldn’t help but look ahead.
“We’re excited about this win, but we’re really excited about next week,” added Ashley, who has guided the Eagles to an 18-5 record over his first 23 games. “Smithville has a lot of tradition and they have a good football team, so it will definitely be a challenge, but I think our kids are up to it.”