Leader Blues

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

SPORTS >> Lonoke puts slop in past, faces DeWitt

Leader sportswriter

The Jackrabbits may not be amphibious, but their Lonoke namesake adapted well to the swampy conditions of Stewart Field last week to claim a 40-0 road victory against the Batesville Southside Southerners.

First-year coach Doug Bost has his team back home Friday for a 2-4A Conference game against another struggling team in DeWitt.

The Dragons (0-6, 0-3) nearly pulled off an upset against Marianna-Lee two weeks ago, but whatever momentum they gained in that game was quickly dowsed last Friday in a 60-26 blowout loss to Clinton.

Being back at home will be welcome for the ’Rabbits this week, especially if the surface at James B. Abraham Field is not saturated.

“Southside had the worst field you have ever seen in your life,” Bost said. “They don’t have a practice field, so they had to practice at their game field. So it was just holding water.

“There was no grass on the field, just water and mud — it was just terrible. So we found out real quick during pre-game warm ups that it was going to be hard to throw and catch.”

The numbers told the story in the mud-bogged game.

Senior running back Brandon Smith carried only nine times for 55 yards and two touchdowns, while fullback Morgan Linton carried four times for 14 yards and two scores. T. J. Scott had three carries for 35 yards and a touchdown, and senior Darius Scott added the other Lonoke score on a 32-yard run, his only carry of the night.

Quarterback Michael Nelson attempted only four passes the entire game, two of them completions for 55 yards. In all, the Jackrabbits had 217 yards of total offense.

“We needed that,” Bost said. “We addressed it last week and went back to basics. We preached about hanging on to the football. We had one fumble late in the fourth quarter, so we were proud of the way everyone held on to the football.

“We were able to play second teamers the whole second half last week. That was good for us since we’re low on numbers and can’t play a junior varsity schedule.”

DeWitt, under second-year coach Doug Corley, was expected to be a program on the rise this year. But the Dragons are still winless after six games, and are in danger of posting their seventh consecutive season of two victories or less.

Bald Knob warmed them up to conference play by handing DeWitt a 44-8 loss in Week 4, with Lonoke, Stuttgart and Heber Springs still to play.

Bost said his team was confident and healthy heading into Friday’s game, but will still keep an eye out for gadgetry on DeWitt’s part.

“They run that wing T, so they use a lot of deception with crossing backs and pulling guards,” Bost said. “You have to play assignment football — you have to stay at home and not chase a fake, because if you do, you’re going to end up out of position.”

Lonoke is tied for fifth in the 2-4A Conference standings with Marianna after three weeks. Bald Knob and Clinton both sit atop the conference at 3-0, while Heber Springs and Stuttgart share third place with 2-1 records.

With Heber Springs and Clinton still left to play Stuttgart, Bald Knob and each other, the fight to enter the postseason is still wide open.

“We’re anywhere from a No. 2 seed to a five,” Bost said.

“We obviously can’t control what everyone else does, so we’re concentrating on winning out the next four weeks and just letting the cards fall where they may.”