By MICHAEL CHILDERS, CJ Correspondent
When football games start, the score is usually 0-0.
When Southwestern started playing last night, they already were down 14-0.
After a rough start by the Southwestern Warriors, visiting Lincoln County was able to leave the Reservation with a 24-14 victory.
The Patriots took advantage of three first quarter turnovers by Southwestern to grab a ten-point win. The first half struggle was simply too much for the Warriors to overcome, as Mike Settles’ Patriot team moved to 2-2 in district play, while Southwestern fell to 1-3.
For the second week in a row, the Warrior offense stalled, making it difficult for the boys in blue and orange to make it comeback.
“We got ourselves into a 14-0 hole at the half,” began Andy Stephens, who saw his squad fall to 3-5 overall on the year. “We played fine in the second half, we just weren’t good enough offensively to overcome that - we’ve got to learn that. We’re not explosive enough on offense to overcome that large of a deficit.”
Lincoln County took advantage of a bad snap early in the first period to jump out to a 7-0 lead, as Logan Robinson tallied his only score of the contest on a 12-yard run. An extra point from Austin Ashcraft gave the Patriots a seven-point advantage with 9:14 left in the opening period.
Late in the opening half, quarterback Justin Hubble threw a five-yard pass past the Warrior defense to Austin Cress for a touchdown. Thanks to a successful kick from Ashcraft, Lincoln County led 14-0 with 1:44 left until the intermission.
Southwestern got their first touchdown of the evening with 9:22 remaining in the third frame on a two-yard run from junior tailback Logan Campisano. On the two-point conversion, sophomore quarterback Austin Smiddy dove into the end zone to make the score, 14-8, in favor of Lincoln County.
The Patriots found the end zone for the third and final time of the evening with 4:19 left in the third quarter, as Connor Patterson ran in from two yards out for a score. Ashcraft’s made extra point gave the Patriots a 21-8 advantage over the Warriors.
With 31 seconds left in the third quarter of action, Smiddy tossed a 28-yard pass to senior James Vinson for a touchdown. After Vinson’s first career touchdown, the ‘Blue and Orange’ found themselves trailing by seven points at 21-14.
Lincoln County ran out to a ten-point, 24-14 lead with 8:20 left in the contest, when Ashcraft made a 17-yard field goal.
The Warrior offense would never threaten to score in the final quarter, which resulted in their second straight loss. To make things simple, the offense must get better.
“It’s two weeks in a row that we’ve not been able to get the job done offensively - it’s disappointing,” told the second-year Warrior football coach. “We’ve got to look at what we’re doing, but we’re just not making plays right now. We’re having a little trouble with speed and explosiveness.”
Southwestern’s offense put up 138 total yards in the game, with 33 passing yards and 105 rushing yards. Two fumbles and an interception didn’t help the Warriors’ cause either.
Campisano had a team-high 70 yards, along with a touchdown, on 14 carries. Smiddy, through the air, completed two passes for 28 yards and a touchdown, in which Vinson caught.
The Patriots had 153 rushing yards and 60 passing yards for a combined 213 yards of offense. Robinson carried the load for Lincoln County, as he finished with 136 yards and a score on 30 attempts. Patterson came up with 43 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries. Passing-wise, Hubble went 8 of 12 for 60 yards and a touchdown.
On the defensive side of the ball, Jesse Meece grabbed a one-handed interception, Wyatt Karter had two sacks, and Lucas “Bama” Brewer had a fumble recovery.
With the loss to Lincoln County, the Warriors, who fell to 1-3 in district action. will need some help if they want to make it into the Class 5A State Playoffs.
“We’re in a tough situation right now,” Stephens stated. “Some people have to help us out to even make it into the playoffs. We put ourselves into a bad situation.”
Southwestern will play their final home game of the 2012 regular season next Friday night, when they will host cross-town rival Pulaski County at 7:30 p.m. at the Reservation.
LC 7 7 7 3 - 24
SW 0 0 14 0 - 14
LC - 9:14 - Robinson 12 yd. run (Ashcraft PAT)
LC - 1:44 - Hubble to Cress 5 yd. pass (Ashcraft PAT)
SW - 9:22 - Campisano 2 yd. run (Smiddy run)
LC - 4:19 - Patterson 2 yd. run (Ashcraft PAT)
SW - 0:31 - Smiddy to Vinson 28 yd. pass (2-pt. conversion failed)
LC - 8:20 - Ashcraft 17 yd. field goal
LC- Hubble 8/12 60 TD
SW- Smiddy 2/7 33 TD INT
LC- Robinson 30-136 TD, Patterson 12-43 TD
SW- Campisano 14-70 TD, Maggard 10-24, Robinson 1-14, Smiddy 4-9
LC- Gaines 5-43, Miller 1-8, Cress 1-5 TD, Patterson 1-4
SW- Vinson 1-28 TD, Pittman 1-5