The 10th-ranked Aggies blocked two punts in the second quarter and turned them both into touchdowns on the way to a 27-7 victory over previously undefeated Westbrook Christian at Jack Osborn Memorial Stadium.
The Aggies (9-3) now plays Sulligent (10-2) in the friendly confines of Upchurch Field Friday.
Lineville coach Steve Giddens can’t remember the last time his team blocked one punt in a game, but it got two in the second quarter — offsetting one the fourth-ranked Warriors (10-1) turned into their only touchdown in the first.
“We work on it, but we don’t call it very much because 10-15 yards’ field position on our returns is what we go for,” he said. “We just felt like with their alignment we had a chance if we could get through the initial blocks and we did.
“They helped us a little bit with the high snaps. It just went our way on that.”
The Aggies ran only seven offensive plays in their 14-point second quarter, but with the field position the blocked punts gave them, they didn’t have to run many.
Cody Brown snuffed the first punt on the first play of the second quarter. Three plays later, Demetrius Lindsey floated a 19-yard pass to Q.T. Ward and the game was tied 7-7.
Brown also had two interceptions in the second half.
“I just told coach I was going to go get that punt,” Brown said. “We had been practicing it all week. I told him I was going to go get it.”
Daniel Henry got the second one, less than 90 seconds before halftime and it led to the go-ahead touchdown.
That only took one play as Daniel Staples streaked around left end and found the end zone from 19 yards out.
“That gave us a lot of confidence,” Giddens said. “Anytime you give up something big right before halftime it’s tough. On the other hand if you can put something on the board right before halftime in a close game it’s big. I think that was as key a play as there was in the game.”
Once with the lead, the Aggies turned to traditional Lineville football to keep control of it. They held the Warriors to 15 net yards in the third quarter and out gained them 216 yards to 109 in the second half.
Jonathan Glenn’s 3-yard run with 3:49 left in the third quarter extended the lead to 21-7. Lindsey’s 17-yard touchdown pass to Telvin McLain on the second play of the fourth quarter made it 27-7.
Staples had 60 of his 91 yards rushing in the second half while Glenn had 42 yards and Travis Ackles had 32. Lindsey was 5 of 6 passing for 68 yards in the half.
“Just here in the last two weeks we’ve gotten back to running some of our wishbone and ‘I’ plays, and it’s helped us,” Giddens said. “Not only is it a different look, it’s a different mindset. If we can do a little bit of that along it just makes other teams have to prepare for more. We’re glad to see that.”
The night didn’t start off well for Lineville. The Aggies got only 2 yards on their first possession and had their punt blocked. The Warriors took over at the Lineville 29 and quarterback Jacob Mayfield accounted for all the yards to the end zone.
He completed a 10-yard pass and ran for the other 19 including the final seven for the touchdown.
That’s when the Aggies went into punt-block mode.
“We had to turn the tide on them,” Brown said.
Al Muskewitz is a sports writer for The Star. He can be reached at 256-235-3577.