Crossville’s homecoming game against 5A, Region 6 rival Douglas went exactly how they wanted as the Lions defeated the Eagles for their first win of the season.
The 31-7 victory snaps a 10-game losing streak.
After a scoreless first quarter of action, Crossville’s offense started to heat up behind senior quarterback Trent Bryant. Bryant was able to get things going in the second quarter at the 10:16 mark by connecting with fellow senior receiver Cam Adkins for a 26-yard touchdown. Eighth grade kicker Kaejuan Hatley’s extra point gave the Lions a 7-0 lead.
Two possessions later, with 4:10 left in the half, Bryant led Crossville’s offense to the endzone for a second time on a 6-yard scramble to widen the gap to 14-0.
After forcing an Eagle fumble on the following kickoff, the Lions scored for a third time to lead 20-0 by way of another 3-yard touchdown scamper from Bryant. Hatley missed the point after. He finished 3-of-4 on PATs and 0-of-1 on field goals after missing from 32 yards out in the third quarter.
In the second half, the Lions’ defense forced two safeties. The first came with 4:54 left in the third quarter when a host of Lions sacked junior quarterback Riley Baugh to increase their lead to 22-0. After a 12-yard touchdown run from senior running back Jay Luther to go up 29-0, the Lions defense forced a second safety on a botched punt snap by the Eagles that ended up rolling out the back of the endzone with 10:26 left in the game, pushing their lead to 31-0.
With 1:18 remaining in the fourth quarter, Douglas freshman running back Kevin James broke loose for a long, 55-yard touchdown run to close the gap to 31-7.
Bryant finished 12-of-21 passing for 136 yards and one touchdown while rushing for 45 and two touchdowns.
Crossville’s win over Douglas also marks the first career for Lions head coach Dusty Darnell. But, rather than discussing his own accomplishments, Darnell was more worried about improving his team’s sloppy performance. The Lions committed 16 penalties and turned the ball over three times (two fumbles, one turnover on downs).
“I’m proud of the win but we’ve still got a lot of work to do because we’re still not playing good football,” Darnell said. “We’ll go back Monday, get back to work and try get the small things fixed. I’m happy to get the win, I’m happy for our kids, but we’ve got a long way to go before we get where we want to be. I thought our guys played hard. I thought they responded – we had a little trouble in the first quarter, but they did well in executing and making plays in the second half. And, our defense played well again.
“I’ve not had time to think about it,” Darnell added on winning his first game as a head coach. “It feels good.”
Next week, Crossville (1-3, 1-1) plays at Alexandria and Douglas (0-3, 0-2) travels to Sardis to continue 5A, Region 6 action.