Lions claw Eagles

Kolby Lesley carries the ball during Friday's win.

DOUGLAS — After the Eagles soared ahead for a 7-6 lead in the second quarter, the Crossville Lions roared back to defeat their class 5A, Region 6 rival 24-7 and earn their first win of the 2019 season.

The Lions were first to light up the score board with 2:33 remaining in the opening quarter. An 8-yard run by Kolby Lesley put Crossville up 6-0; the team failed to convert an extra point.

After Douglas’ defense forced a turnover on downs with 7:39 left in the second quarter, the Eagles flew down the field in three plays to score what would be their only points of the night. Quarterback Tristen Smalley started the drive with a 6-yard run, then Eli Teal — who started the game as quarterback — picked up 45 yards on the ground. On the third play of the series, Smalley took a direct snap 25 yards for a touchdown. A successful extra point kick from Judah Bearden gave the Eagles a 7-6 lead with 6:32 remaining in the first half.

On the following offensive possession, the Lions answered with a 6-minute, 12-play, 71-yard touchdown drive to retake the lead at halftime, 12-7. Crossville quarterback Hunter Haston connected with Lesley for a 2-yard touchdown pass. The team’s 2-point conversion attempt failed.

To open the third quarter, Douglas forced the Lions’ offense to go three plays and punt, but the Eagles’ first offensive snap was fumbled by Smalley and recovered by a roar of Crossville Lions at the Douglas 21-yard line. With nearly 10 minutes remaining in the quarter, Crossville found the endzone in two plays to increase the lead to 18-7 after running back Trace Allen ran 7 yards for the score.

From that point, it became a defensive battle into the final period of play. The next two offensive drives for Douglas and Crossville each ended with turnovers on downs and punts.

With 7:10 remaining in the game, the Eagles tried to rally from an 11-point deficit at their own 11-yard line. Smalley led Douglas down to the Crossville 44 -yard line before tossing an interception into the hands Crossville’s Lesley. Lesley returned the interception 80 yards for the Lions’ final score of the night, sealing the victory with 2:12 remaining in the game.

Lesley unofficially finished with 64 rushing yards and one touchdown on 13 carries, 33 receiving yards and one touchdown on 3 catches and an 80-yard interception return for a touchdown. 

For Douglas, Smalley unofficially finished with 165 all-purpose yards and a rushing touchdown.

Crossville’s defense forced two interceptions and recovered one fumble against the Eagles.

After Friday night, Crossville is the winner of the last four meetings against the Eagles. Douglas last defeated the Lions in 2015 by score of 20-7.

Crossville improves to 1-3 (1-1 in region play). Douglas falls to 0-3 (0-2). 

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