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Loyd Star roars past West Lincoln 35-16

Loyd Star and West Lincoln kicked off their 2006 footballseasons Thursday night at Perry Miller Field, with both teamsexperiencing first-game jitters.

The visiting Hornets used a potent ground game and tookadvantage of 5 West Lincoln miscues; to the tune of a 35-16 winover the host Bears before an estimated 600 fans.

Loyd Star hosts Enterprise Friday night, Sept. 1, in the StingBowl, while West Lincoln takes on Wesson at Co-Lin’s Stone Stadium.Kickoff for both games is set for 7 p.m.

The tone for this game was set early on the first possession byWest Lincoln (0-1). After the opening kickoff, the Bears lost afumble inside Hornet territory on the second play of the youngseason. It would be the first of 5 Bear turnovers.

Loyd Star (1-0) took only 2 plays and 53 seconds to move 41yards. After a Donald Shorter 17-yard run, senior runningbackHunter Speeg bulled his way to the endzone on a 24-yard burst1-minute, 57 seconds in the opening frame. Junior Josh McCaffreytacked on the PAT kick and the Hornets had notched a 7-0 lead.

On the ensuing kickoff, it would be the Bears’ turn to takeadvantage of a Loyd Star turnover.

After running 5 plays from the West Lincoln 28, the Bearspunted. Shorter mishandled the ball and Jamie Byrd recovered at theHornet 9. It took 3 plays for West Lincoln to punch the ball acrossthe goal line. Byrd did the honors from 4 yards outs. Tailback LeeJones ran in the 2-point conversion and the Bears held an 8-7advantage with 4:17 left in the first quarter.

Hornet head coach Josh Thibodeaux’s ballclub answered the Bearscoring drive with one of its own. A 4-play, 67-yard driveculminated when McCaffrey found paydirt from the 5-yard line.McCaffrey ran for a successful 2-point conversion and Loyd Star hadreclaimed the lead for good at 15-8 with 47 seconds left in theperiod; a cushion that was carried into the second frame.

Loyd Star got a 6-yard scoring jaunt from Shorter at the 7:41mark of the second quarter. McCaffrey’s kick gave the Hornets a22-8 lead that held going into the halftime lockerroom.

The Bears held a 2-1 advantage in time of possession over theHornets in the opening half, but turnovers killed several long WestLincoln. Loyd Star zscored 3 touchdowns off of 5 Bear errors.

“I am proud of the way our kids played tonight,” said WestLincoln head coach Brooks Burns. “They have nothing to hold theirheads down about.”

“We ran the ball extremely well tonight,” continued Coach Burns.”Turnovers killed several good drives that we had.”

Loyd Star took the second half kickoff and marched 47 yards in 6plays, taking 3 minutes, 4 seconds to complete. Quarterback JarredRogers called his own number from 1-yard out. The PAT kick failedand the Hornets led 28-8. McCaffrey scored his third touchdown from7 yards out with 2:39 left in the third, giving Loyd Star a 35-8lead.

“We had momentum in the first half,” said McCaffrey. “We hithard on defense.” McCaffrey finished the game with 51 yards on 10rushes and 3 touchdowns.

Speeg, the Hornets’ leading rusher on the night with 90 yards on18 carries, left the game early in the third; taking a helmet tohis left knee. He was able to walk off the field on his

“I am proud of Josh (McCaffrey), scoring 3 touchdowns,” saidSpeeg. “It felt good running. My offensive line was able to pushWest Lincoln back.”

West Lincoln closed out the scoring midway through the fourthstanza. With 5:12 left on the clock, Jamie Byrd took a pitch fromquarterback Jeremey Byrd and raced 31 yards to the endzone.

Kevin Lofton converted the 2-point conversion run. Jamie Byrdled the West Lincoln offensive with 88 yards on 10 carries and 2scores.

The Bears gave Loyd Star all they could handle, but theturnovers were too much to overcome.

“We gave all of our effort tonight,” said Bear seniorrunningback Lee Jones. “We were in good shape, thanks to CoachBurns. Loyd Star has a good team.”

Even with the win, Thibodeaux saw room for improvement.

“We did not focus enough tonight,” said Thibodeaux. “Our defenseneeds a lot of work. We have some adjustments to make.”

“Our runningback ran hard and the offensive line blocked well,”added Thibodeaux. “Need to work on passing game.”

Loyd Star nearly doubled West Lincoln in total offense 358-183.Both teams combined for 12 penalties and 90 yards with most ofthose coming in the second half.

Defensively, Dustin Brewer paced Loyd Star with 8 tackles.Antione Smith followed with 7 stops. Brewer, Hunter Speeg andNathan Williams were in on sacks. Brewer, Speeg, Ryan Wallace andGrant Britt each had a fumble recovery. Phillip Maher intercepted apass.

West Lincoln was lead by Jones with 10 tackles (5 solo).Nathaniel Pruski and Jamie Rushing were each in on 6 stops. JamieByrd recovered a fumble, while Pruski had a pair of sacks.