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Hornets surpass West Lincoln

DAILY LEADER / JONATHON ALFORD / Loyd Star running back La'Treall (9) looks for some running room as West Lincoln defenders Sloan Nations (80) and Luke Barrilleaux (54) hustle in for the tackle Friday night at Perry Miller Field.

DAILY LEADER / JONATHON ALFORD / Loyd Star running back La’Treall (9) looks for some running room as West Lincoln defenders Sloan Nations (80) and Luke Barrilleaux (54) hustle in for the tackle Friday night at Perry Miller Field.

The Loyd Star Hornets relied on their tough defensive stance and a strong running attack from freshman running back Zacchaeus Arnold to surpass the West Lincoln Bears 14-6 Friday night in Region 7-2A action on Perry Miller Field.

In a playoff battle for the fourth seed in the Region 7-2A race, Loyd Star and West Lincoln fans gathered to show support for their favorite school. The Bears were fighting to claim their first-ever postseason trip, while the Hornets were looking to do the same after a four-year absence.

“Glad to get the win in a sloppy game performance,” said Loyd Star assistant coach Jared Britt. “I am extremely proud of the guys. They fought hard and made several huge defensive stands to get the victory. Now, we must get ready for a tough playoff opponent next Friday.”

West Lincoln had a pregame ceremony before the game to honor their football seniors and cheerleaders for Senior Night.

In the first quarter, Loyd Star and West Lincoln came out and provided a great defensive battle for their football fans from start to finish. Both schools knew coming in that it was a winner-take-all contest.

The Bears and Hornets fought back and forth in a fierce Lincoln County rivalry as the opening quarter ended scoreless.

Early in the second quarter, Loyd Star managed to break up the scoreless game on a 20-yard touchdown run by junior full back Peyton Flowers with 11:51 remaining. Freshmen Parker Flowers was successful on the extra point kick.

The Hornets battled hard to increase their lead with 5:17 left as Arnold scrambled to paydirt on 13-yard touchdown run. Parker Flowers nailed the extra point to give Loyd Star a 14-0 lead.

West Lincoln answered the Hornets’ challenge late in the second quarter after a strong defensive stand by recovering a fumble inside the Hornets’ 10-yard line. On the next play, the Bears cashed in a touchdown on their first offensive play, as senior quarterback Jonah King connected with senior receiver Larontae Byrd for a nine-yard touchdown pass with 0:52 remaining. Senior Tyler Moak was unsuccessful on the extra point attempt, as Loyd Star secured a 14-6 lead at halftime.

In the second half, both teams continued their strong defensive battle. Loyd Star and West Lincoln threatened on several occasions to take over the game offensively, but neither team would give in on defense.

West Lincoln’s offense had two huge opportunities inside the Hornets’ 10-yard line to tie or a claim the lead in the third quarter, but Loyd Star’s defense toughened up and denied the Bears, forcing a turnover on downs. After three quarters of action, the Hornets still led 14-6.

In the fourth quarter, the rivalry heated up. Loyd Star and West Lincoln went back and forth trading possession after huge defensive stops for each team. The Bears threatened again in the closing seconds, but failed to punch in a score because of a crucial turnover that gave the Hornets the win.

“The kids played hard,” said West Lincoln coach Willie Brumfield. “I was proud of their effort. This was a physical game for both teams. Overall, we have come a long way through adversity to get where we are. I appreciate our seniors for laying the foundation for this program. I’d like to thank the parents for letting their sons play and also for their support.”

Offensively, Arnold paced the Hornets with 102 yards rushing on 16 carries. Peyton Flowers had eight rushes for 40 yards and one catch for seven yards.

Parker Flowers completed one-of-three passes for seven yards.

King was the offensive leader for the Bears, completing five-of-13 passes for 61 yards, two interceptions and a touchdown.

Junior running back Javian MacKabee led the ground attack for West Lincoln with 59-yards rushing on 16 carries. Bryce Temple was the top receiver with three catches for 37 yards. He also had 14 yards rushing.

Defensively, Peyton Flowers directed Loyd Star with 20 tackles and a fumble recovery. Dustin Hart contributed 11 stops. Tevin Lackland recovered a fumble. Colby Cade and La’Treall intercepted a pass.

Jamin Conrad was the top hitter for the Bears with 18 tackles. Tyler Moak provided 16 stops and recovered three fumbles. Luke Barrilleaux had 14 tackles and a fumble recovery. Sloan Nations helped with 12 stops.

Loyd Star (3-7, 2-3) advances to the first round Class 2A playoffs Friday. The Hornets visit Taylorsville to battle the Taylorsville Tartars (9-2, 5-0). Kickoff is at 7 p.m.

West Lincoln concludes their season with a 2-8 overall record and 1-4 worksheet in region action.