East Robertson and Jo Byrns both dropped losses on the road Friday. Below are recaps of each game:
Lewis County 35, East Robertson 14:
After scoring two touchdowns in the first quarter, East Robertson was shut out the rest of the way in a 35-14 loss at Lewis County.
The Panthers led 22-14 at halftime and tacked on two more touchdowns in the fourth quarter to distance the score line. East Robertson lost two fumbles inside the Lewis County 5-yard line and committed four total turnovers, but coach Atlee Pond said he saw progress from his team in the loss.
“Even though we lost, I felt like it was a step in the right direction for our program,” he said. “Our offense was able to move the ball. Things are getting better.”
Drake Alsup has returned to the quarterback spot, allowing Taylor Groves to play receiver and free safety, among other positions. Alsup was initially named the team’s starting QB in July, but Groves opened the season behind center.
“We want to move (Groves) all over the field,” Pond said. “The more ways we use him, the harder it will be for defenses to plan for him.”
Alsup had his best statistical game of the season. He threw a 29-yard touchdown to Groves and ran for a 5-yard score in the first quarter. Alsup finished with 305 yards on 30-of-40 passing.
“I was really impressed with the way (Alsup) played,” Pond said. “We threw the ball all over the place. He’s a lot more comfortable now.”
East Robertson (1-3) now turns its attention to a game with major playoff implications. The Indians travel to Jackson County Friday at 7 p.m.
“This game is huge,” Pond said. “It’s the biggest game of the season so far. I think if we show up, our kids can definitely take care of business.”
Houston County 35, Jo Byrns 14:
The Red Devils are still searching for their first win after a 35-14 loss at Houston County.
Houston County jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter, and Jo Byrns never recovered. The Fighting Irish finished with 373 yards of total offense.
“Our effort was there, we just have to eliminate the mistakes,” Jo Byrns coach Tom Adkins said. “I thought our effort was a little better against (Houston County). We’re having trouble at the line scrimmage – we’ve got to get better there.”
Brian Salas rushed for a 5-yard TD in the second quarter, and QB Ryan Dowlen ran for a 4-yard TD in fourth quarter for the Red Devils’ lone scores.
Junior tailback Jake Chennault did not play for undisclosed reasons. He is currently the team’s leading rusher with 130 yards on 32 carries. Without Chennault, Jo Byrns managed just 58 rushing yards.
“We’ve got to be able to run the football,” Adkins said. “Houston County controlled the line of scrimmage, particularly when we were on offense. We had a hard time blocking them up front.”
Salas led the defense with 11 total tackles, and Maxie Owens and Garrett Little both finished with 10. Little saw his first action of the season after missing the first three games with a shoulder injury.
Jo Byrns (0-4) will try to get in the win column when it hosts Red Boiling Springs Friday at 7 p.m.