|Lonoke's Xavier Hodge runs over a Baptist Prep defender. (Photos by Mark Buffalo)|
By Mark Buffalo
LITTLE ROCK — The Taggart Moore era of Lonoke Jackrabbits football got off to a rousing start Friday night at The Ranch.
Lonoke jumped out to a 26-0 halftime lead en route to a 33-7 win over Baptist Prep. Moore was named interim Lonoke football coach following the resignation of Doug Bost on Tuesday.
“I told them all week to bring the energy, we’re a family,” Moore said after the game. “They did more than I could ever wish for. They love each other. They love the coaching staff. The coaching staff loves them. We just wanted to do it for them tonight and I think we did.
“We’re back on track.”
Lonoke is now 2-3 overall and 1-1 in 4A-2 play. After beating Carlisle in the season opener, the Jackrabbits dropped three consecutive games by blowout before turning the tables on the Eagles.
Lonoke got the ball to start the game. The Jackrabbits then drove 54 yards in 14 plays. Logan Dozier scrambled then threw an 8-yard touchdown pass to Ethan Mulligan with 5:24 left in the first quarter. The extra point was blocked, leaving the score at 6-0.
“That is what we’ve wanted to do,” Moore said. Lonoke ran the ball 10 times on the drive.
“Coach [Jack] Keith put a great game plan in,” Moore said. “He called all the plays. He mixed it up with cadences. He mixed up the tempo. He slowed it down. He sped it up; threw it when he needed to; ran it when he needed to.
“I cannot say enough about the job he did. I had confidence in him going into it. He’s the man on offense tonight.”
The Jackrabbits’ defense forced a punt on Baptist’s first possession. That led to a 12-0 lead as Lonoke drove 56 yards in six plays with Xavier Hodge scored on a 3-yard run with 1:16 left in the first quarter. Hodge also had a 40-yard run on the drive.
The Jackrabbits scored two more first-half touchdowns. Hodge scored on a 13-yard run with 4:39 left in the first half. Mario Reyes kicked the extra point. Dozier scored on a 1-yard run with 25 seconds left. Reyes kicked another extra point.
On the ensuing kickoff, Baptist fumbled the ball and Lonoke recovered the ball at the Baptist 36.
On the final play of the half, it appeared Lonoke had scored another touchdown. Dozier threw a backwards pass to Isaac Toney, who then threw a perfect pass to a streaking Kameron Cole for a 38-yard touchdown.
Lonoke was lined up to kick the extra point when the officials decided to huddle. After a few minutes, the official on the Baptist side of the field where Toney caught the lateral then threw his pass, threw his penalty flag. The referee said Dozier had thrown a forward pass. A team cannot throw two forward passes on the same play.
Video confirmed that Toney caught the ball from Dozier two yards behind him.
However, that play did not keep the Jackrabbits down as they took a 33-0 lead when Dozier threw a 66-yard touchdown pass to Cole with 4:51 left in the third quarter. Reyes kicked the extra point.
Baptist’s lone touchdown came with 10:09 left in the game. Logan Hogan scored on a 9-yard run.
Lonoke’s defense played well all night. In fact, they allowed less than 30 yards in the first half.
“We told them this week that if they played disciplined, because that offense is tough to stop, that we would be just fine,” Moore said. “They didn’t try too much. They did their job — all 11 of them.”
Dozier completed 8 of 11 passes for 114 yards. Toney caught 3 passes for 18 yards. Hodge caught two balls for 1 yards. Also catching passes were Cole, Mulligan and Dylan Smith.
Hodge led Lonoke with 118 yards rushing on 22 carries. Stephen Barrett had 26 yards on 4 carries.
The Jackrabbits will try to make it two wins in a row when they host Southside Batesville for homecoming. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at James B. Abraham Stadium.
|Logan Dozier signals "touchdown."|
|Lonoke's Isaac Toney  tries to get away from a defender. Also pictured is Kameron Cole .|