SPORTS >> Jackrabbits senior gets loose, runs wild in win
Leader sports editor
Brandon Smith made good use of his time Friday night.
The Lonoke senior tailback and college prospect rushed for 235 yards and scored three touchdowns in three quarters as the Jackrabbits rolled to a 27-0 victory in their season opener at Lonoke.
With Smith’s help, Doug Bost made a successful debut as the Jackrabbits head coach after moving up from the junior high ranks.
“It’s just football,” Bost said. “When you’ve got great kids that work hard and love the game of football it makes a coach’s job a whole lot easier and I’ve got some great kids out here. I really do.”
Despite his fondness for his players, Bost held Smith out of the first quarter over what Bost described as a minor disciplinary problem.
“It’s just team issues that we’re dealing with,” Bost said. “I hope we’ve got that out of the way and we can play some football from here on out.”
It was certainly clear after the game Bost wasn’t holding any hard feelings for Smith, who is being courted by a handful of colleges, including Louisiana Tech, Mississippi State, Vanderbilt and Arkansas State.
“He ran the ball hard when he got in there, he sure did,” Bost said. “He hits the hole hard and he wants to run you over instead of run around you.”
Bost even played Smith on defense, but finally rested him with less than 6 minutes left in the game after Smith picked up 24 yards and a first down.
Smith’s touchdown runs got progressively longer during the night, with his last coming on a 55-yard run that made it 27-0 with 56.4 seconds left in the third quarter.
“That was a called play from one of my linemen,” Bost said. “That was great. He saw it, he said ‘Let’s go with it,’ and that’s what we did. I have a lot of faith in those guys.”
Smith missed the first two Lonoke possessions but entered the game with 4.6 seconds left in the first quarter. Morgan Linton carried for 8 yards, Darius Scott then had a 51-yard carry to the 9 and, after a penalty pushed the Jackrabbits back 5 yards, Smith took it in from the 14 for the 7-0 lead with 11:35 left in the half.
Blake Dill recovered a fumble for Lonoke to set the Jackrabbits up at the Senators 36. Smith had carries of 3, 11 and 2 yards on the possession, but the big plays were a 10-yard completion from Michael Nelson to Darius Scott and a 10-yard touchdown pass from Nelson to Todd Hobson that made it 14-0 with 8:24 left.
Scott intercepted Senators quarterback Cole Bulloch and ran it out to the 9 with 1:57 left in the half. The Jackrabbits went the distance thanks to Smith, who took a pitch to the right at his 35, spun to avoid one tackler, stiff-armed another and slipped a third on his way to the end zone to make it 20-0 with 9.3 seconds left.
“The passing game, they kind of stopped us a little bit in that but the running game was going,” Bost said.
Bost was also concerned with a few defensive breakdowns and mental lapses that led to 45 yards in personal foul penalties.
“I like the aggression when a play’s going on,” Bost said. “But when the play’s over it’s got to stop, the mouth’s got to shut. A little running can cure some of that stuff right there.”