By Lawanna Monk
LOVELADY — The Lovelady Lions jumped out to a 49-point halftime lead, crowned their 2022 Homecoming Queen, and went on to win their District 12-2A DII opener 68-12 over Colmesneil Friday night in The Lions Den.
The Lions improved to 5-0 on the year while the Bulldogs slipped to 3-3.
After forcing Colmesneil to punt on its first three possessions, the Lions scored three touchdowns on just five plays to grab a 24-0 first quarter lead.
Lovelady scored on its second play of the game when Cortavius Whitaker took the handoff from quarterback Shaun Easterling and raced all the way down the visitor sidelines for a 74-yard touchdown. Brandon Fry carried in the conversion for an 8-0 lead with 9:31 on the clock.
After Colmesneil's second punt rolled dead at the Lion 18, Dayvian Skinner hit the gap and galloped 77 yards on the first play to set up a 5-yard touchdown run. Easterling took the handoff from Jayton Crawford on the next play for the score and carried the conversion to increase the lead to 16-0 with 6:45 on the clock.
Punting from the 6-yard line under heavy pressure, the ball went off the side of the Colmesneil player's foot and went out of bounds at the Bulldog 14. Easterling punched it in on the first play and Skinner added the conversion to make it 24-0 with :23 left in the opening quarter.
On the kickoff, a Colmesneil player touched the ball and the Lions recovered at the Bulldog 25. Easterling rushed for 13 and then threw a 12-yard end zone strike to Skylar Pipkin. Jordan Blackmon ran the conversion, putting the Lions up 32-0 at the 11:16 mark in the second quarter.
The Lions cashed in two more turnovers to stretch their lead to 45-0.
Another fumble recovery set up the next touchdown when Pipkin stripped the ball at the Lion 20. Blackmon picked up two and Fry reeled off a 78-yard TD.
The kick was no good, holding the Lions to a 38-0 lead at the 9:30 mark.
A minute later, Lovelady’s Cody Davis picked up a fumble and advanced it to the Bulldog 5. Crawford scored from 5 yards out and Skinner nailed the PAT for a 45-point cushion with 8:23 in the second.
Colmesneil got on the scoreboard with 71-yard scoring drive. Quarterback Reed Best connected with Kaden Butler on a 34-yard TD toss to close the gap to 45-6 with 4:40 left in the half. The Bulldogs went for two, but a botched lateral was scooped up by Crawford and returned all the way for two Lovelady points, making the score 47-6.
An onside kick failed to go 10 yards and the Lions took over at the Bulldog 49. Whitaker took it to the house for his second TD of the night and Skinner's PAT made it 54-6 at the 4:26 mark.
After receiving the kickoff, Colmesneil drove 66 yards and scored on a 1-yard quarterback keeper by Best with :18 left in the half. A 2-point conversion failed.
Crawford returned the kickoff 15 yards to the Lion 45. On the first play, Easterling found Pipkin wide-open on a 55-yard TD strike and Skinner stretched the lead to 61-12 with :02 before halftime.
Late in the third quarter, Crawford picked off a pass at the Lion 34. Blackmon carried seven plays for 61 yards and dove into the end zone from the 4-yard line.
Skinner's extra point put the Lions up 68-12 with 11:47 left in the game.
Alan Baskin also had a nice run that was brought back on a penalty and another 6-yard carry.
Pipkin picked off a pass late in the game enabling the Lions chewed up the rest of the clock.