Lizton — After opening the season with two impressive showings, the Lebanon Tigers came crashing down to earth Friday night as they lost their Sagamore Conference opener to the Tri-West Bruins 40-16.
While Tri-West deserves credit for taking full advantage of Tiger miscues, Lebanon seemed to have trouble getting out of its own way in the first half.
The Bruins started just one of their seven first half drives from their own side of the field for various reasons and even that lone possession resulted in a 1-play, 80-yard touchdown run.
If ever there was an opening play and drive that set the tone for an entire football game, Friday night was it. The Bruin freshman running back, Wes Cook, returned the opening kickoff 74 yards before being drug down at the Lebanon 14 yard line.
Four plays later sophomore quarterback Jake Hendershot did the honors sneaking it in from a yard out as Tri-West took a 6-0 lead less and two minutes into the game.
The Tigers ensuing possession looked as if they were going to respond with a statement drive of its own as junior quarterback Isaac Harker led a 10-play, 55-yard drive that had Lebanon inside the red zone. The 11th play, however, was a Mitch Alexander interception as he baited Harker into a throw down the middle of the field before coming up from his safety position for the pick. Not only did he make the catch, but his 80-yard return set the Bruins up at the Lebanon 10 yard line.
The very next play was a 10-yard screen pass from Hendershot to Austin Lazaro resulting in a 12-0 Tri-West lead with 6:28 left in the opening frame.
The Tiger’s second drive only yielded a single first down before Caleb Brannon was called on to punt. Brannon had been quite successful with his run/punt option, but this time he shanked the punt and a Bruin roll resulted in a 2-yard punt that had Hendershot setting up shop at the Lebanon 24-yard line. This time the Tiger defense would hold strong forcing a 28-yard Thomas Tintera field goal that stretched the Bruin lead to 15-0 after one quarter.
“We seemed like a different team from the opening kick,” said Lebanon head coach Kent Wright. “It’s hard to blame the defense when they get put in tough spots.”
For more of this story, read Saturday’s Lebanon Reporter.