Leader Blues

Saturday, October 20, 2007

SPORTS >>Jackrabbits manhandle Trojans

IN SHORT: The Lonoke football team had an easy time on the road with Marianna, winning a blowout.

By JASON KING
Leader sportswriter

Lonoke got perhaps its biggest win of the year on Friday with a 35-0 shut out win over Marianna in Lee County. The Jackrabbits took advantage of eight Trojan turnovers in the contest, turning four of them into scores on their way to the dominating victory.

Three of Lonoke’s scores would come in the opening quarter, two of which were pass plays from senior quarterback Rollins Elam to receiver Michael Howard. Elam had a total of three touchdown passes in the first half, but would sit out most of the second half after sustaining a leg injury in the third quarter that did not sound promising.

The Jackrabbits’ passing game was spot on during the game, but Marianna’s was seriously lacking. The Trojans threw a whopping five interceptions to the heads-up Lonoke secondary, and three more turnovers came on the ground.

Jackrabbits coach Jeff Jones said the performance by his team was one of the best of the season.

“I really like the way we played tonight,” Jones said. “We played fast and smart. We went about our tackling really smart also. The receivers ran great routes all night long; it was just a great team effort.”

Jones, like most people, expected a much stronger showing by the Trojans.

“They’re a lot better team than what showed up tonight,” Jones said. “Their offense has been really productive, and their defense has stingy. We were expecting a hard- nosed game, but we were able to come out and take that first drive for a score, and that seemed to give us a boost.”

Marianna coach Billy Saia could do nothing but state the obvious afterward.

“We played terrible,” Saia said. “If you can’t block and can’t tackle, you’re not going to win. That’s just basic stuff right there. They pushed us off the ball and controlled the line all night.”

The first two scores for Lonoke came on the Elam-Howard connection. The first was a 25-yard pass, and the second was from 45 yards out for two touchdowns in the first five minutes of the game, with successful extra-point attempts from Daniel Smith.

Junior flanker Clarence Harris ran in the next Jackrabbit touchdown in the final two minutes of the first quarter from 13 yards out, and Smith’s PAT made it 21-0.

Elam would get one more TD pass before his untimely exit, with a 16-yard toss to Alvin Farmer in the middle of the second quarter. Smith missed the extra-point, leaving Lonoke with a 27-0 lead at halftime.

Farmer’s efforts on offense were solid, but paled in comparison to his three-interception performance on the defensive side of the ball for Lonoke. He would not be alone, as Michael Nelson and Lance Jackson both made interception grabs for Lonoke also. Smith led in turnovers off the ground for the Jackrabbits by picking up two of the three coughed up balls from the Trojans.

Jacob Taylor came in at quarterback for the Jackrabbits in the third quarter, and would make his mark with a 75-yard touchdown pass to Howard. It was Taylor’s first varsity TD, but it would make the third of the night for Howard. Harris ran in the two-point conversion to activate the mercy rule at 35-0 in favor of Lonoke.

The Jackrabbits are now 5-2 overall and 5-0 in the 4A-2 Conference. Marianna falls to 4-3 overall and 3-2 in conference. Lonoke will host Stuttgart next week.