Lovelady Stumbles against Groveton, 53-26

Turnovers Doom Lions

By Will Johnson

Messenger Reporter

LOVELADY – There’s nothing like a rivalry game to open the season and Lovelady fans got exactly that as a long-time nemesis – the Groveton Indians – rolled into town to kick off the 2019 football season.

Hopes were high for the Lions with first year head coach Will Kirchhoff taking over the program from Jon Lowery who retired at the end of the 2018-2019 school year. Kirchhoff inherited a young team but despite the Lions’ youth, Lovelady played even with Groveton for most of the game.

Unfortunately, the Lions’ inexperience came up to bite them in the second quarter when the Indians scored 25 unanswered points to take a 39-14 lead at the half.

The game started out with the defenses setting the tone. Morgan Thrasher recorded two sacks on Groveton’s opening possession and helped force an Indian punt.

A botched snap on first down together with a second bad snap on a Lovelady punt attempt gave the Indians great field possession at the Lions’ 38 on Groveton’s second possession.

Consecutive running plays moved the ball down to the 20, but on the next play, Lovelady’s Carter Murray ripped the ball from the running back and fell on it for the first turnover of the game.

After an illegal procedure call against the Lions and an incompletion from Lovelady QB Seth Murray, Slade Murray got behind the Indian secondary and his older brother Seth hit him in stride for an 80-yard scoring strike. The extra point attempt was no good but at the 7:50 mark, the Lions had seized the lead, 6-0.  

Groveton pulled ahead on their next possession as Trenton Torregrossa provided the bulk of the yardage. Starting at the Indians’ 34, Torregrossa ripped off a 15 yard run, followed by a 10-yard completion from Groveton QB Cade Steubing to WR Dylan Wells.

From there, Torregrossa did the rest as he picked up five, 28 and scored on a 15-yard scamper after an illegal procedure call. He then kicked the XP to give Groveton a 7-6 lead with 6:14 left in the first quarter.

The Lions next possession saw Lovelady start at their own 37 and move to the Groveton 14, before they turned it over on downs.

After that, Steubing and Wells hooked up again on a long pass play down to the Lovelady 20. From there, Torregrossa took it the rest of the way to make the score 14-6 after the XP.

A bad kickoff return pinned Lovelady deep in their own end of the field at the 10. Seth Murray picked up nine on first down and on second down he found a wide open Nick Ochoa who caught the ball and raced 81 yards to pay dirt. Logan LeBlanc bulled his way across the goal line with the two-point conversion to tie the game at 14 with just over seven minutes left in the first half.

That was when things went sideways for the Lions. Steubing found Luke Taylor for a 45-yard TD pass at 5:31 to give Groveton a 20-14 lead.

Seth Murray was picked off on Lovelady’s next play from scrimmage and Groveton was back in business at the Lovelady 13. From there, Steubing found Wells in the back of the end zone to make the score 26-14 with 4:57 left in the half.

A fumble on Lovelady’s ensuing possession gave the ball back to the Indians at the Lions’ 44. After a Steubing to Wells completion, Steubing found Torregrossa with a 30-yard TD pass to make the score 32-14.

After the Lions couldn’t muster any offense, they punted it back to the Indians and with 1:49 left in the second quarter, Martin Chavez broke free on a 42-yard TD run. Torregrossa added the XP to close out the first half scoring with the Indians ahead by a score of 39-14.

The Lions came out of the locker room with a renewed sense of urgency and drove right down the field using a balanced rushing attack led by Josh Martinez who plowed his way into the end zone with 7:31 left in the third.

The Martinez score made it 39-20 and after the Lions’ defense stuffed the Indians, the Lions appeared poised for a comeback.

A muffed punt, however, gave the ball right back to Groveton and then Torregrossa took the ball 20-yards to the end zone to put the Indians up by 26 after the XP.

Martinez added a late score to cut the lead to 20 but the Indians added a TD from Malachi Stewart to end the scoring with Groveton claiming victory by a final score of 53-26.     

The Lions hit the road this week as they travel to Tenaha to take on the Tigers. Tenaha defeated the Troup Tigers last week by a score of 15-7. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 pm.      

Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at [email protected].

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