Lovelady Goes into Playoffs as #2 Seed from District 12-AA DI

By Will Johnson
Messenger Reporter

GROVETON – As far as rivalry games go, it doesn’t get much bigger than Lovelady vs. Groveton, especially when the District 12-AA DI championship is on the line.

The Lions and Indians squared off in the 2016 season for the district championship in football and in the spring of this year, the two long-time foes battled it out on the baseball diamond in the Regional Quarterfinals.

Unfortunately for the Lions, the two previously mentioned match-ups went to the Indians and this past Friday night was no different as Groveton hung on to beat Lovelady by a final of 28-20.

It was a back and forth affair as the two teams exchanged the lead throughout the first half. The Indians struck first – midway through the opening period – as Groveton QB Haden Terry connected with Saul Chavez on a 53 yard strike down to the Lovelady one-yard line.

The Indians’ JJ Cole took it the rest of the way as he bulled his way into the end zone from a yard out. Chavez knocked home the PAT and gave the Indians a 7-0 lead.

The Lions came right back with a score of their own as Lovelady marched down the field and capped off their drive with a four yard blast by Tim Johnson for six. The try for two was no good but as the first quarter came to an end, Groveton only led by one, 7-6.

As the second quarter got underway, the Lions took the lead. At the 10 minute mark, Lovelady QB Colt Robinson dropped back to pass and saw WR Jay Thomas Robinson had broken free in the defensive secondary. He threw a strike to his receiver who took it the rest of the way to give the Lions a 12-7 lead. The XP attempt was no good.

On the Indians’ next possession, they reclaimed the lead after a quick drive ended with a Terry sneak from two yards out. Chavez split the uprights with his extra point and staked the Indians to a 14-12 lead.

The score remained that way until halftime, but after the break, the Indians struck twice to extend their lead to 28-12. First, Terry connected with Cade Steubing on a seven yard TD pass and then Cole burst through the line for his second touchdown of the game, while Chavez converted both XP attempts.

With under a minute left in the third quarter, the Lions managed to cut into the lead when Robinson found Michael Price for a 35-yard TD. On the try for two, Robinson connected with Alex McKnight as the Lions managed to whittle the Indian lead down to 28-20.

That was as close as Lovelady would get as the two teams slugged it out in the middle of the field as the Indians kept the Lions out of the end zone to hang on for the 28-20 win.

The win gives the District 12-AA DI championship to the Indians while the Lions finished in second. As a result, the Lions will face off against the Alto Yellow Jackets on Friday, Nov. 17 in the BI-District round of the playoffs. The game is being played in Westwood and is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.

The Indians will square off against the Carlisle Indians on Saturday, Nov. 18 in Rusk. Kickoff is scheduled for 5:30 p.m.

PHOTOS COURTESY OF MIKE WHATLEY

Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at wjohnson@messenger-news.com.