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updated 9:21 AM, Oct 22, 2020 America/Chicago

Houston County

Lovelady outlasts West Sabine

LoveladyFootball Lovelady DefenseLovelady’s Joel Pomeroy (12) and Carter Murray (75) put pressure on the West Sabine quarterback Friday night in Pineland. Photo by Lawanna Monk

By Lawanna Monk

HOUSTON COUNTY - A 100-mile-plus trip to Pineland was worth it for the Lovelady Lions and their fans Friday night.

The Lions fended off the West Sabine Tigers 44-34 for their second straight district victory.

After West Sabine made it a four-point game late in the third quarter, the Lions put the game away with a touchdown early in the fourth quarter.

Lovelady started its first series with good field position after Joel Pomeroy covered the kickoff on the Lion 49.

Shaun Easterling took the ball on first down and reeled off a 34-yard run behind the offensive line manned by Matthew McFarland, Caleb Larkin, Jaxson Reeves, Mikey Montemayor and Carter Murray.

Three plays later Easterling capped the drive and Eric Anderson ran the two-point conversion for an 8-0 lead with 10:41 in the first quarter.

Lovelady’s onside kick failed to go the required distance, so West Sabine took over on the Lion 43 and scored five plays later on a short pass. An extra point kick failed, leaving the Lions with an 8-6 lead with 9:02 left.

The Lions went up 16-6 with an 11-play, 77-yard drive after Keivon Skinner downed the Tigers’ kickoff at the 23 yard line.

Easterling carried five times, dragging defenders behind him on several plays. The drive also included a four-yard carry by quarterback Slade Murray and a nine-yarder by Conner Martinez. Easterling scored from four yards out with 3:14 left in the first quarter and Martinez ran the conversion.

West Sabine took advantage of a momentum swing and scored two unanswered touchdowns to go in front by four early in the second quarter.

Late in the first quarter West Sabine recovered a fumble at the Lion 25 and cashed in two plays later on a quarterback keeper. The Tigers threw for two points to close the gap to 16-14 with :06 left in the opening period.

West Sabine took the lead, 20-16, with 7:39 left in the second quarter after taking over at the Tiger 17 on a punt. The Tigers drove down the field and scored from three yards out but were unsuccessful on the conversion.

The Lions regained the momentum with back-to-back touchdowns before halftime.

A fair catch by Pomeroy on the kickoff set up Lovelady’s offense at the Lion 38. Except for two short runs by Martinez and Murray, Easterling accounted for most of the yardage on the seven-play drive and scored on a 35-yard run. Martinez ran for the conversion to give the Lions a 24-20 edge at the 4:20 mark.

After forcing a Tiger punt that went out of bounds at the Lion 43, Easterling picked up four on first down and then Murray connected with Skinner on a 53-yard touchdown strike. Easterling’s two-point conversion run gave the Lions a 32-20 lead at the 2:16 mark in the first half.

The Lions weren’t able to breathe easy for long, though.

After kicking off to the Tiger 28, West Sabine marched down the field and scored five plays later on a six-yard pass and then threw for the conversion to make it a four-point game, 32-28, with :24 left in the half.

A crucial fourth-down stop by the Lion defense at the 10 yard line shifted the momentum back to Lovelady. Moore had several tackles while Martinez and Murray helped keep the pressure on the Tigers until they ran out of steam.

The Lions then drove 90 yards down the field on five carries by Easterling, four by Slade Murray and three by Eric Anderson. Martinez capped the 13-play drive on a four-yard run and a two-point conversion was unsuccessful but Lovelady was up 38-28 with 1:19 to go in the third.

Refusing to go away quietly, the Tigers roared back on their next possession and struck quickly on a two-play drive. After being stopped for a two-yard loss on first down, West Sabine took it the distance from 67 yards out on the next play. The conversion failed, leaving the Lions with a 38-34 lead with :28 left in the third.

Lovelady started its next possession at its 40 yard line after the kickoff and put together an eight-play scoring drive.

The Lions drove down the field on five carries by Easterling, a seven-yarder by Murray and a 15-yarder by Anderson.

With the ball inside the 10, Easterling took it rest of the way for the Lions’ final touchdown midway through the fourth quarter that sealed a 44-34 victory.

This week Lovelady (2-1, 3-4) hosts Mt. Enterprise (1-2, 1-6), which fell to Tenaha 49-0 last week.

Cross Country Latexo Groveton Oct. 14 (video)

Latexo Meet Photo FinishLatexo runners Eli Filer and Eduardo Rodriguez (l-r) battle down the stretch in the Tiger Invitational Wednesday, Oct. 14 at Shartle Ranch. Filer edged out his teammate to claim the 10thplace medal.

By Larry Lamb

HOUSTON COUNTY - With the district cross-country meet just a week away, the Latexo Tigers tuned up with a second place finish in their own meet Wednesday, Oct. 14 at Shartle Ranch.

Class 3A Franklin won the varsity boys title with 49 points, Latexo was next with 63 and 3A New Waverly was third with 80.Franklin’s Nick Phillipello paced all runners with a first place time of 18:02.

Phillipello also had the winning time of 17:48 a week earlier when the Franklin crew finished second in team standings.

Latexo runners finished 7-9-10-11-26 to claim runner-up team honors.Tiger Logan Ray (19:53) came in seventh and teammate Ashton Hargrove (21:05) was two spots back in ninth behind

Elkhart’s Pablo Rodarte (21.00). LHS teammates Eli Filer and Eduardo Rodriguez engaged in a photo finish for 10th place.

Filer (21:17), competing for the first time this season due to an injury, nosed out Rodriguez for the final individual medal.

“They battled it out at the end for 10th and 11th. I honestly thought they were going to pass up the kid in front of them so that they would get ninth and 10th,” said Latexo coach Jessica Cutshall.

Carter Tucker (25:52) finished 26thfor the final counting spot in the Tigers’ team score. “I haven’t been letting Eli run in meets because of his injury and heonly has one practice a week,” said Cutshall.

Latexo Tigers MedalistsLoganRay (seventh), Ashton Hargrove (ninth) and Eli Filer (10th) (l-r) placed in the top 10 to lead the Latexo Tigers cross country team to a second place finish in the Latexo Invitational on Wednesday, Oct. 14 at Shartle Ranch.

“I’m really proud of my guys. I’ve been trying to push them really hard and they finally came through this week,” added the coach. “None of the teams in our district finished in front of us, so I can’t complain about that.”

This was the third meet Latexo has hosted at Shartle Ranch, where the District 20-2A meet will be held Oct. 21.In addition to Latexo, the district lineup includes Centerville, Grapeland, Groveton, Jewett Leon, Lovelady and Slocum.

Cutshall noted that only two teams from each district will advance to the UIL regional meet due to Covid-19 restrictions. The Region III Class 2A competition will be Tuesday, Nov. 10 in Huntsville.

Groveton won the varsity girls title while Centerville was second and Jewett Leon third.

Elkhart’s Guin Young posted the winning time of 13:34 out of 57 runners.Results for the Lady Tigers were Caleigh Duvall (17:12) 35th, Ashley Ray (18:24) 43rd; Maggie Gibbins (18:58) 48th and Kennedy Patterson (20:59) 53rd.

Latexo’s girls team was short-handed due to one runner missing the meet due to illness. “One was at home with a migraine and I only have five runners so I ended up only having four to compete this week,” said Cutshall. “One of my girls just came back after being out for Covid for 2 ½ weeks and hasn’t been running but she ran today. Another runner has been checked out for a high heart rate, so she had to take it real easy today too.”