Lovett followed up its impressive road win against Thomasville with a 38-0 victory over Towers in the Lions’ home opener on Friday night. Grant Haley’s three-yard touchdown run capped off a 13-play, 74-yard drive that consumed the first five minutes of play. That set the tone of the game as Lovett found the end zone in each quarter while holding the Titans scoreless throughout.
Pace also won on Friday, scoring a 25-7 victory at Whitefield Academy. More on that game in a moment.
“I was proud of our effort; the kids played pretty hard,” said Lovett head coach Mike Muschamp. “But we still have to get better given the kind of teams we’re going to play. Callaway [Lovett’s next opponent] is an outstanding football team, and then we have Buford after that.”
Callaway is 0-1, but their loss came in overtime against Troup (2-0 in Class AAA). Buford is 3-0 and has outscored its opponents 126-7 so far this season.
Whatever may happen in the coming weeks, Lovett has to feel good about the start to this season. After starting quarterback Jack Geraghty elected to focus on baseball during his senior year, Luke Hart stepped into the role for the team’s opener and led the Lions to a 14-12 road victory over Thomasville. With the win over Towers the team is now 2-0.
“We have a long way to go, but we’re in a lot better place right now than we would be if we hadn’t won those two games,” said Muschamp.
Following Haley’s touchdown on the team’s opening drive, Lovett placekicker Brendan McGowan connected on a 25-yard field goal to make the score 10-0 at the end of the first quarter. McGowan was a key contributor for the Lions, converting all five PAT’s and also limiting Towers’ return game with his kickoffs. The Titans averaged only 5.6 yards per return, and their average starting field position was the 20-yard line. By comparison Lovett’s average field position to start their drives was the 48-yard line.
Towers threatened to score early in the second quarter, as quarterback Larry Tucker broke off a 33-yard run into Lovett territory, then drove his team down to the two-yard line. On the next play Lovett linebacker Trey Snellings dropped Titans wideout Keith Flanagan for a one-yard loss. Towers opted to go for it on fourth-and-goal from the three, but linebacker Julius Holder came up with the stop for Lovett, and the Lions took over on downs.
It was all Lovett the rest of the way as Luke Hart scored on an eight-yard run to give the Lions a 17-0 halftime lead, then added a one-yard run to make the score 24-0 heading into the final quarter of play.
With 8:18 remaining, junior running back Spencer Lee scored on a draw play up the middle, giving Lovett a 31-0 lead. Freshman quarterback Willie Candler then added a 57-yard touchdown run down the right sideline in the game’s final minutes.
Lovett finished the game with only two penalties for 18 yards, while Towers was flagged ten times for 125 yards. Lovett also won the ground game, rushing for 218 yards and holding Towers to 120 yards.
Candler was Lovett’s leading rusher, with all 57 of his yards coming on the 4th quarter touchdown run. Keith Flanagan led Towers with 65 yards on 13 carries.
In addition, “Grant Haley (nine carries for 44 yards) did a good job for us,” said Muschamp. “And defensively, I thought our secondary played well. With the offensive scheme Towers runs they want to pass the ball, and we were able to limit them with what they could do.”
Lovett held the Titans to 73 yards in the air. Towers’ talented wideout, senior Quincy Tiller (6’4”, 195 lbs.), totaled 34 yards on three receptions.
Pace Academy 25, Whitefield Academy 7
The Knights built up a 12-0 halftime lead and went on to hand the Wolfpack their first loss of the season on Friday night. Winners of nine games a year ago, the victory was the first of the season for Pace, 1-1.
Whitefield, which rolled at Walker in the opener, also saw its record evened at 1-1.
After a scoreless first quarter, the Knights got things going with a pair of second quarter touchdowns. The first came on a 1-yard Robert Jones plunge and the second on a 43-yard pass from Kevin Johnson to Glen Harris.
Whitefield found the end zone in the third quarter on a 20-yard run by junior Richard Sherrell, who finished with 95 yards rushing on 17 carries. That cut the deficit to 12-7, but the Wolfpack could get no closer as Johnson helped the Knights salt the game away in the fourth quarter.
First the Pace quarterback connected with Harris, who caught four balls for 84 yards and two scores, on a 10-yard TD pass. Johnson later threw his third touchdown pass of the game, this time a 6-yarder to Reid Williams.
Johnson was 13 of 22 passing for 186 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. Denzel Franklin ran for 90 yards on 16 carries as the Knights had 125 yards rushing and 311 yards of total offense.
Whitefield had just 166 yards of total offense, 114 of those coming through the air. The Pace defense, with Andrew Thurman and Osei Avril leading the charge, made a living in the Whitefield offensive backfield as Pace racked up four sacks and eight tackles for losses.
Both teams complete their non-region schedule on the road next week with Whitefield traveling to Wilkenson County and Pace playing at Walker.