“Take the fight to the Senators for 32 minutes and leave it there.”
That’s the last of the maxims for the LaFollette Owls, and it’s one they followed to a tee last Thursday night.
Fresh off their 44-0 victory over Horace Maynard, the Owls were looking for their second of the season. They found it, as they took the fight to the Senators of Norris, 34-6 at LaFollette Middle School.
“I think, as we’re maturing as a team, we’re realizing that the game is not one quarter,” head coach Chris Honeycutt said. “It’s four quarters. They’re understanding that they have to compete until the game is in the books. We’ve really stressed that the last two weeks, and it’s obviously been in our favor. That’s all I said at halftime was 32 minutes, 32 minutes, 32 minutes.”
For quarterback Zack Rutherford, the meaning of the maxim is simple.
“Don’t ever give up,” he said. “Just keep taking it to them for the whole game and not give up.”
That’s just what they did.
The Owls managed to battle for the full 32 minutes, but it was after the final buzzer when they slipped. In a play that started with only three second remaining in the game, the final buzzer sounded before it really got started.
However, Norris’ Douglas Sawyer managed to slip through the LaFollette back-ups for a 40-yard score to avoid the shutout.
For the Owls’ Cody Lawson, it was a good game. Following a slow first quarter of three carries for negative 1 yard, Lawson began to find holes. In the second and third quarters, he rand 11 times for 92 yards. Add in two touchdowns, a two-point conversion, a reception for 14 yards, an onside kick recovery, all while handling the punting duties, and the kid had a carrier night.
“We played real good after the first quarter,” Lawson said. “That was amazing. During the first quarter, there weren’t many holes. After that, the holes were huge.”
Rutherford also had a good night from within the pocket. He threw four-of-14 for 44 yards and a touchdown. He also had a 1-yard touchdown run and his first punt of his career.
“They’re getting better,” Honeycutt said. “We made some changes after the Lake City game, and it’s working for us.”
LaFollette struck first with 2:09 left in the first quarter. The four-play, 29-yard drive was capped with Lawson following Bradley Kidwell 14 yards to the end zone. Lawson’s two-point conversion failed, as the Owls led 6-0.
Following a turnover by the Senators on fourth-and-20, LaFollette again used only four plays to score, this time from 25 yards out. Lawson’s 6-yard run was promptly followed by Rutherford connecting with Justin Nelson across the middle for the score. Lawson’s two-point conversion was good, as the Owls led 14-0 with 28 second left in the second quarter.
Peyton Webb’s onside kick to open the second half was recovered by Lawson. He finished the drive four plays later, going 38 yards behind Christian Carroll and Webb for the score. Lawson’s two-point conversion failed, as LaFollette led 20-0 with 6:42 left in the third.
On Norris’ next drive, Christian Stooksbury, after a big hit by David Burke, fumbled the ball. Bailey Lawson fell on the ball to set up the next score. Seven plays later, Rutherford took the ball 1 yard for the 26-0 advantage with 2:43 left in the third quarter.
With 1:49 left in the quarter, the Owls found their final score. Coty Boshears took the ball 55 yards behind Burke for the score. His two-point conversion made the score 34-0.
Sawyer found his way through the Owls as time expired to put the Senators on the board. His 40-yard dash produced the final score, 34-6.