Saturday, October 31, 2015

Jackrabbits rout Ricebirds, one win away from making playoffs

The Jackrabbits all signal for a touchdown after Will Miller scored on a quarterback sneak in the third quarter against Stuttgart. (Photos by Mark Buffalo)

By Mark Buffalo
Staff Writer

LONOKE — With their backs against the wall, the Lonoke Jackrabbits came out swinging with their best performance of the season. 
Lonoke started quick in beating Stuttgart 34-7 on Friday night at James B. Abraham Stadium.
With the win, Lonoke improved to 4-5 overall and 2-4 in 4A-2 league play.
Stuttgart got the ball to start the game but was forced to punt with Lonoke getting the ball with a short field. That led to a 6-yard touchdown run by Casey Martin with 7:34 left in the first quarter. Josh Coleman added the two-point conversion. 
Lonoke used a squib kick on the ensuing kickoff. The Jackrabbits recovered the free ball. A few plays later, Lonoke quarterback Will Miller threw an 11-yard touchdown pass to Justin Meadows with 5:34 left in the first quarter. Coleman added another two-point conversion to give the Jackrabbits a 16-0 lead.
The Jackrabbits scored 12 points in the second quarter to lead 28-0 at halftime. Miller threw a 24-yard touchdown pass to Jawaun Bryant with 9:49 left. Meadows scored on a 10-yard run with 2:06 left. 
Stuttgart got its only points of the game on a  25-yard run by Je'rel Dabner with 7:57 left in the third quarter. Gavin Lawson kicked the extra point to make the score 28-7.
Lonoke's final score came on a 1-yard quarterback sneak by Miller with 3:07 left in the third quarter. 
"This kinda reminded me of Week 1 against Star City," Lonoke coach Doug Bost said of his team's win over the Bulldogs. "We came out and the ball went our way. The kids played hard and we out-physicalled them. It's been a while since we've done that."
Bost said there's an outside chance for his team to make the Class 4A state playoffs but the Stuttgart game was a must-win for them. 
Lonoke can make the playoffs if it beats Riverview in the regular-season finale Thursday night in Searcy. Both teams are tied for fifth in the league standings.  The top 5 teams advance to the playoffs, which begin Nov. 13.
"We have to win the last two and have help from two other teams," Bost said immediately after the win over the Ricebirds. "It was also senior night and we wanted to send them out with a victory."
Xavier Hodge led Lonoke with 118 yards rushing on 26 carries. Coleman had 68 yards on 11 carries. 
Miller completed 4 of 6 passes for 53 yards and two touchdowns. Bryant caught two passes for 31 yards. Meadows caught two passes for 22 yards.
Lonoke's defense held Stuttgart to only 154 yards in total offense.
Ethan Holland led Lonoke with nine tackles. Michael Hodes and Dylan Smith had seven tackles each. Gabe Rooney had six.
Thursday night's game at Riverview will start at 7 p.m.

Xavier Hodge carries the ball in the second half. 

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