The Lonoke Jackrabbits were coming off an emotional 39-32 win over Newport in Week 5. A letdown seemed to be in store in Lonoke’s game with Southside Batesville.
And early on, that was the story. However, a football game in high school lasts 48 minutes.
Lonoke rallied from a 14-0 deficit to beat the Southerners 39-21 on Friday.
With the win, Lonoke is now 5-1 on the season with a trip to Pine Bluff Dollarway this Friday. Both teams are 3-0 in the 4A-2 conference.
Lonoke coach Doug Bost said his team came out flat against Southside.
"But we battled," he said. "We were down two at halftime and came back and played a great second half. The defense just allowed one touchdown and the offense was able to get going.
"I was proud of our kids. We got down early but definitely didn’t panic. And we came back and won the ball game in the end."
Southside led 14-0 in the first quarter. The second touchdown came as the result of a Kody Smith interception.
Lonoke got on the board with 11:42 left in the first half on a 3-yard run by Smith. The extra point failed, leaving the score at 14-6.
The Jackrabbits pulled to within two at 14-12 on a 1-yard run by Josh Coleman with 4:48 left in the first half. The two-point conversion failed.
Lonoke forced the Southerners to turn the ball over on downs to start the second half. That led to Smith scoring on a 1-yard run to make the score 18-14.
After a Southside punt, Smith scored on a 7-yard run with 2:06 left in the third quarter. He then threw to Blake Mack for the two-point conversion, giving Lonoke a 26-14 lead.
Southside cut the deficit to 26-21 with 2:18 left. Lonoke responded quickly as Mack ran 49 yards for a touchdown with 1:40 left. The extra point failed, leaving the score at 32-21.
Southside tried to move the ball again but Lonoke’s Jacob Vandiver intercepted a pass late. From there, Smith scored on a 2-yard run and Jose Garcia kicked the extra point to set the final margin.
Lonoke scored that final touchdown in an attempt to win by at least 13 points, which is the maximum a team can get when it comes to tie-breakers in the conference standings.
"We had 11 (before the touchdown)," Bost said. "I’d hate to get down the road where we got beat by 12 or 13 points and it end up costing us. If you have an opportunity to get your 13 points, you need to get it."
Smith led Lonoke with 254 yards rushing on 20 carries. Mack had 84 yards on 8 carries. Coleman finished with 59 yards on 13 carries.
Smith completed 4 of 13 passes for 14 yards. Mack caught three passes.
Ethan Holland led the Jackrabbits with 13 tackles. Dylan Goforth and Caleb Bailey had six tackles each. Dylan Walker, Jay Pitts, Vandiver and Trey Bevis had five each.
This Friday’s game at Dollarway features the third-ranked Cardinals against the 11th-ranked Jackrabbits. They are the only two undefeated teams in 4A-2 play.
"It starts in practice this week," Bost said. "We’re going to put in the game plan today [Monday]. We’ve got to have a good week of practice. When you go down there, you have to execute. It’s the best team we have seen on film. It’s the biggest and fastest team we’ve seen on film.
"We’ve got to go down there with lots of energy on Friday night, which I know that we will. The kids understand how big of a game this is."
Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.