Leader Blues

Monday, November 23, 2009

SPORTS >> Lonoke hangs on, holds off Warren

By JASON KING
Leader sportswriter

The Lonoke Jackrabbits almost ran out of luck, but in the end, Warren ran out of time.

The Jackrabbits hung on for a 28-26 victory over the Lumberjacks on Friday night at Warren’s Jim Hurley Stadium to advance to the quarterfinal round of the 4A state playoffs.

Lonoke (9-3) took control early, rushing out to a 21-0 lead in the first half, but a pair of goal-line stands by Warren (7-5) leading up to halftime helped the Lumberjacks establish momentum for a frantic second-half rally.

Instead of taking a 35-point lead and staring the clock running under the high school sportsmanship-timing rule, Lonoke had to fight for its life.

“They were a totally different team there in the second half,” Lonoke coach Doug Bost said. “We talked at halftime about missing out on those two chances to score. We could have had the clock running in the second half.

“But we didn’t panic; we knew we were going to get their best shot — and we did.”

A bad punt in the first half left Bost gun-shy about punting in the second, so the Jackrabbits took a pair of safeties in the fourth quarter once the Lumberjacks defense shut them down.

Warren came back with a pair of scores in the third quarter to close the gap to 21-14, and answered a 20-yard touchdown run by Lonoke’s Brandon Smith to start the fourth quarter with another scoring drive and successful two-point conversion to pull within 28-22.

Lonoke’s second safety gave Warren the ball with 45 seconds left to play and the Lumberjacks trailing by only two points, but a 46-yard field-goal attempt in the final seconds fell short.

“The kids hung in there and didn’t quit,” Bost said.

Smith scored in the on first-half runs of 7 and 5 yards Michael Nelson had a touchdown pass to Morgan Linton.

Lonoke faces Malvern this week.