In Sept. 4-10 Issue
By Derek Aaron
Times Journal Sports Editor
The Russell County Lakers gave a valiant effort Saturday night but fell, 44-31, to the highly rated Danville Admirals in the Bob Allen Pigskin Classic.
Coach Bill Sharp’s team looked like a team to be reckoned with this season and will build on Saturday’s success against a top 25 team in the state, according to many state media polls.
The Lakers scored on their first offensive play from scrimmage as Bryon Ellis found Landon Meece for a 50 yard touchdown reception, the Lakers’ highlight of the night, putting the Lakers up 7-0.
Meece, a senior, would then pick off a Danville pass from Trae Grey later in the first quarter and would return it 24 yards as the Lakers showed Danville they were not to be taken lightly.
Danville managed to garner 643 total yards on the Laker defense with their speed and athleticism but the heady play of several of the Lakers, including team captains Bryon Ellis and Chandler McGowan, allowed the Lakers to stay close throughout the night.
The Lakers found themselves down 12-7 at the end of the first quarter following two Danville scores.
In the second quarter Danville’s offense racked up three more scores but Ellis and the Lakers stayed with the Admirals as he rushed for a 14 yard score at the 11 minute mark and kicked a 27-yard field goal at the 1:20 mark.
The halftime score was 32-17 in favor of Danville.
The Lakers pulled within 38-31 with a touchdown with 8:55 to play but couldn’t manage to score again as Danville had to battle hard down the game’s final stretch to capture the victory.
Senior Landon Meece had a 3-yard touchdown scamper with 11:27 remaining in the game and then hauled in a 66 yard Ellis touchdown pass with just under nine minutes to go.
Danville would score once more to put the game out of reach but the Laker offense looked much improved even from a year ago.
Senior fullback Chandler McGowan ran the ball strong in his first career start at that position and senior Landon Meece ran and caught the ball well. Chris Hammond also ran the ball for 13 yards in the game.
Meece had three receptions for 158 yards and two scores on the night. Ellis had 239 yards passing on 8 of 18 attempts.
Ellis also had 70 yards rushing on 10 attempts with one touchdown.
Danville’s offense controlled the pace of the game, having possession for nearly 36 minutes of the 48 minute game.
The Laker offense will indeed have to improve on that in the coming weeks an there is no doubt Sharp and his staff have made that a focal point during this week’s practice time.
The Lakers host the rival Casey County Rebels this Friday night at Laker Field at 7 p.m.
The Rebels lost their first game of the season, 50-7, at Henry County on Friday in the Dairy Queen Bowl.
Before the game, Russell County’s Shelby Bell was crowned the Bob Allen Pigskin Queen, giving the Laker faithful yet another moment to cheer for.
Bell is also a Laker cheerleader.