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JV Lion offense comes alive in second half at Midway

Ennis keeps fighting after first-half struggles
The JV Lion football team reached a new season high in points (24) on Thursday night at Hewitt Midway, and all of the production came in the second half.
Unfortunately, Ennis (3-5, 1-4) fell behind 20-0 in the first half of the 35-24 loss. The Lions tallied just four first downs in those initial two quarters as they were outgained by Midway 212-60. The Panthers produced 141 rushing yards and three ground scores by halftime.
“We’ve started slow all season and dug ourselves a hole,” said coach Bryan Clark.
“Whether it was the bus ride or something else [tonight], I’m not sure what the problem was. It’s frustrating because we were able to play that well in the second half and were already too far behind.
“We’ve got to find a way to put together a complete game. [The clock operator was] running the clock on us late in the game, but we couldn’t get within a single score to where it really made a big difference.”
In the victory, Midway won the turnover battle 3-1. The passing stats for both teams were very similar as Ennis threw for 16 more yards with one more incompletion.
On the ground, Midway averaged 5.8 yards per carry and Ennis averaged 5.2 yards per tote. The difference was the Panthers had 15 more carries on the night.
In his first game of the season, receiver Joel Cox made an impact with three grabs for 55 yards and a touchdown.
Dalton Snyder was very effective on the ground and through the air with 64 total yards on four touches.
Curtis Tekell threw for 108 yards with a touchdown and an interception, yet he also managed to run for 25 yards and a score.
Andrew Brown (5-35-1) and Zarron Dove (4-28-0) both ran the ball successfully as Dove made good on all three of his conversion run attempts.
On defense, Cade Zmolik was the top Lion with an interception in the end zone and several nice pass breakups downfield. Colten Hendrik, Danny Manion and Xavier Myers each registered tackles for loss in the ballgame.

Midway seizes control early
Though cornerback Zmolik did well to break up a deep pass on Midway’s first offensive play, the home team came up with a difficult 18-yard reception on third-and-five.
From there, the Panthers really pounded the ball to work their way down the field. While Hendrik notched a tackle for loss as teammates Cooper Gillespie and Dylan Howell made sound tackles in front of their end zone, Midway wouldn’t be denied on the 11-play, 65-yard march as the quarterback scored on a two-yard run (0-6, conversion pass failed).
Ennis looked to be in business on its initial possession after Snyder broke a 21-yard gain on an end-around, but a botched handoff between Tekell and Fred Carroll resulted in a lost fumble at the Panther 37.
Midway took full advantage of its good fortune via a nine-play scoring drive capped off by a seven-yard scamper early in the second quarter (0-12, conversion pass failed). The Lions committed a couple of costly penalties along the way that resulted in first downs.
“We had some crucial turnovers that Midway capitalized on,” Clark said.
“I also thought we had a couple of opportunities defensively to get some turnovers where we didn’t, so it kind of hurt us both ways.”
On its second drive, Ennis once again showed its ability to move the football. Tekell followed up another productive Snyder end-around with a first-down run, and then completed a pair of first-down passes to Cox. At the Panther 36, the drive’s seventh play would be the last as a miscommunication between Tekell and his receiver resulted in an interception.
This turnover also led to a Panther touchdown thanks to a four-play drive. The quarterback broke a 52-yard run on a keeper and two plays later the running back scored his second seven-yard touchdown (0-20, conversion run good).
After holding the Lions to a three-and-out, the Panthers completed consecutive 20-yard passes to enter the red zone in the closing seconds of the half. In desperate need of a turnover, the Lions got one when Zmolik picked off an overthrown pass in the end zone.
“Cade had to get that pick to give us any chance in the game and he did,” Clark said.

Lions come to life
From the first time they touched the ball in the second half, the Lions looked like a new team. Carroll returned the opening kickoff 80 yards for a touchdown, but it was called back for holding to give Ennis the ball at the Panther 43.
“Fred busted the big kickoff return that gave us a little spark, even if it was called back,” Clark said.
“Clay Helms had a big hit on that return.”
On third-and-long, Tekell ran tough for an 11-yard keeper. Two plays later, Brown sped left and shed an early tackle for a 30-yard touchdown run. A hard-charging Dove made good on the conversion run for a 8-20 ballgame.
“Andrew always runs hard and he got us a big touchdown tonight,” Clark said.
Howell and Manion (tackle for loss) made good tackles early during Midway’s next drive, but the Panthers managed to complete a 13-yard pass on third-and-long. After nearly losing a fumble and committing a personal foul, the home team faced some adversity for the first time.
Ennis forced Midway to punt, but return man D.J. Morris wasn’t able to handle the catch as the Panthers recovered the fumble at the Lion 15.
A 13-yard run had the home team in great shape and two plays later the quarterback’s one-yard keeper put Midway back up by 20 (8-28, conversion run good).
Late in the third, the Ennis offense was stifled for the last time as it ended up with another three-and-out. Fortunately, the Lion defense returned the favor – keyed by a Myers tackle for loss.
“Hendrik and those other guys up front played a lot better in the second half,” Clark said.
On third-and-long for Ennis, a Tekell keeper was good for seven yards. Dove then bulled his way for the first down on fourth-and-short and followed that up with an impressive 14-yard gain where he refused to go down.
For the third time on the drive, Tekell looked deep for Cox and his double move did the trick as the receiver got behind the coverage for a 30-yard touchdown reception. Again, Dove was too much to handle at the goal line with another successful conversion run (16-28).
“It’s nice to have a guy like that with a little size and Joel has some speed to stretch the field for us, which we haven’t had until now,” Clark said.
“Whether he was catching it over the top or clearing [the defense] out for some of the underneath stuff, Joel was really effective for us. Dove is our strongest back and he’s going to break some tackles.”
With over six minutes left in the game and Ennis gaining some momentum, credit Midway for running over four minutes off the clock on an eight-play scoring drive to clinch the victory.
The Lions had a couple of costly offsides penalties on the possession, while Myers and a Midway lineman were both ejected just before the home team scored on a three-yard run (16-35, kick good).
The Ennis offense found itself 60 yards from a touchdown with 90 seconds remaining, so Tekell had to go to the air.
First, he hit Adam Jones on a 19-yard crossing route to get the chains moving, and then found Snyder for receptions of 22 and 12 yards.
“Dalton played well tonight and we’ll need him to step up and be a leader these next two weeks, along with continuing to play good football,” Clark said.
Midway wasn’t able to stop Tekell and company at any point in the final quarter, so it really wasn’t a surprise when the quarterback called his own number on the next play and sped up the middle for a seven-yard touchdown with 36 seconds to go.
Once again, Dove followed some good blocking at the goal line for his third successful conversion run (24-35).
“Curtis played a very good second half and was a key reason why our offense came alive,” Clark said.
“There’s no question that’s the best offensive half we’ve played this year. We weren’t doing anything different than the first half; we just executed.”
The JV Lions will now travel to Midlothian on Thursday for a 5:30 p.m. contest.
“We definitely have to finish strong this season,” the coach said.
“Hopefully this good second half will help us carry a little momentum, because you want these kids to enjoy playing the game.”

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Posted by on Oct 24 2008. Filed under Sports. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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