The Lions were able to outlast the Jacksonville Golden Eagles as they were able to pick up a big Class 4A, Region 5 victory 36-20. Garrett keyed the win with 97 rushing yards with three touchdowns and 104 passing yards.
Garrett broke open the scoring, scrambling through the Golden Eagles’ defense for 28 yards in the first quarter and the first score of the contest.
The next offensive series for the Golden Eagles (3-1, 2-1) mimicked the first as a five-play series stalled out, forcing a punt. After a 1-yard punt by Jacksonville, Garrett and the Lions (4-0, 3-0)set up at their 42-yard line and didn’t waste time. The 10-play drive concluded with a quarterback sneak by Garrett from the 1-yard line to put the Lions up 12-0 in the second quarter.
“The first half, we didn’t play well and we could never get the field position. They had the field position the whole first half,” Golden Eagles head coach Clint Smith said. “I felt like we couldn’t get anything going early. They set the tone the first half with field position, and we never could recover.”
Starting the second half on defense, the Eagles forced a Lions 24-yard field goal by Brian Strickland, which extended the lead to 15-0.
An interception by freshman Mark Curry gave the Golden Eagles momentum for the first time in the game, and they took advantage. Bell and Thomas executed a perfect flea-flicker as Bell’s pass found a wide-open Sid Thurmond in the back of the end zone for a 28-yard scoring reception.
“We just could never sustain the momentum,” Smith said. “We have to learn how to fight through the adversity and just be able to keep and maintain momentum when we need to.”
Que Taylor found the end zone for the Lions from 3 yards out on the Lions’ next possession.
Thomas answered with a 69-yard scoring run. He added an 18-yard touchdown later in the fourth quarter. He finished with 173 yards on 17 carries and two touchdowns
“When you play a good football teams, you can’t play a half of football and beat a good football team, and they have a good football team,” Smith said.
In the fourth quarter, Garrett added a 4 yard touchdown run and Q.T. Elston chipped in with a 23 yard score to essentially put the game out of reach.
“That’s the best game we’ve played so far,” said Lions head coach Will Wagnon. “However, I don’t think we are where we need to be yet. We still had a lot of mistakes we have to correct. If we can improve some more, then we’ll eventually get where we need to be.”
Both teams play in non-region games next week as Jacksonville travels to Weaver, while Munford goes to Clay Central.