Friday’s season opener went exactly as planned for the Lonoke Jackrabbits, who handled Carlisle at Fred C. Hardke Stadium, 42-6, in just the second meeting between the two teams since 1990.
“We came out and did what we wanted to do,” Jackrabbit coach Taggart Moore said. “I was real proud of them. We came out quick and took control. That’s what I’d been preaching all week.
“We wanted to control the line of scrimmage on offense and defense, and we did that. We didn’t want to get too fancy with it; we just wanted to run the ball with our running backs, get (quarterback) Daniel (Seigrist) in a little bit of a rhythm and protect everyone. They did great on offense. The 1s didn’t give up a touchdown. Just a good job, really sound. We were happy.”
A year after trailing 12-7 late in the first half against their Lonoke County rival, the Jackrabbits took control early this time. They led by 21-0 after the first quarter and 35-0 with 7:10 left before the break.
Seigrist completed six of nine passes for 109 yards and three touchdowns and rushed one time for a 25-yard score. Xavier Hodge led the Jackrabbit rushing attack with 147 yards and two touchdowns on 12 carries. Braidon Bryant caught three passes for 86 yards and two TDs.
The Jackrabbits finished with 209 yards rushing on 25 carries — an average of 8.4 yards per carry. They recorded 318 yards of total offense.
Michael Hodges led the defense with seven tackles and one assist. Sophomore Carson Devinney had five tackles and two assists. E’shaun Brown and Tallon Swint recorded two sacks apiece. De’Angelo Noid snagged an interception. Antonio Earl recovered a fumble.
“Everything worked perfectly,” Moore said. “We had a great game plan going in. Coach (Jack) Keith (Lonoke’s defensive coordinator and former head coach at Carlisle) got after our guys the whole summer preparing for them. He wanted to beat them and leave no doubt.
“Coach (Nick) Smith (offensive coordinator) did a great job with the game plan.”
Moore said the Jackrabbits would need a repeat performance Friday when they play host to Class 5A Beebe. The Badgers are also 1-0 after rallying to knock off highly-touted Greenbrier, 26-18.
“You should see them on film,” Moore said. “They are very talented. They are big up front, and they’re young. The have a lot back from last year. They started eight or nine sophomores last year, and they are all back. Their quarterback is very talented, and they’ve got some road graders up front on offense.
“We’re going to have to really, really play tough to control the line of scrimmage.”
Beebe’s 49-7 win over Lonoke last year was one of its four victories. The Badgers finished 4-6 and missed the playoffs, but eight starters return on offense this fall with seven back for the 3-4 defensive scheme.
“Dead T — three yards and a cloud of dust,” Moore said. “They do get in a little more Spread. They’ve got a quarterback who’s pretty athletic who can run that stuff. We are definitely not taking that lightly.
“But if they don’t have to get in the Spread, they don’t want to. They want to get three yards every time.
“We feel like we can score on them, but we need to be able to stop them. Our main goal is to figure out how to stop them. They are so big up front.”
Against Greenbrier — a team the Badgers lost to last year, 55-33 — Beebe got 168 yards on 15 carries by Khalil Anthony.
Beebe was picked to repeat its fifth-place finish in the 5A-Central, according to Hooten’s Arkansas Football’s preseason poll of league coaches.