2009-09-10 / Sports

Eagles Put an "X" on Mart

by Mike Organ

Spencer Taylor rushes the Mart QB during Friday night's game in Lexington. PHOTO BY MIKE ORGAN. Spencer Taylor rushes the Mart QB during Friday night's game in Lexington. PHOTO BY MIKE ORGAN. Xavier Ward scored twice early in the game and Clint Hutson added the clincher as the Lexington Eagles beat Mart 21-14 Friday night. The Eagles are now 2-0 for the season and Mart is 0-2.

Lexington opened the scoring as Ward broke on a 58-yard touchdown jaunt in the first quarter. The score came with 5:22 left in the quarter on Lexington's third possession of the period. The run was the second of a twoplay 71-yard drive. Ward gained 13-yards on the first play of the drive. Mason Vacera toed the PAT for a 7-0 Eagle lead.

Lexington's second drive was more conventional. The five-play, 66-yard drive also ended with Ward scoring. This time it was 'only' a five-yard run. Ward contributed a 27-yard run on the second play of the drive. Josh Murray added a 12-yard run and the officials added a 15-yard gain due to a Mart late hit. The dependable Vacera added the PAT for a 14-0 lead with 11:03 left in the half. Lexington moved down into the red zone later in the quarter only to have Vercera's field goal attempt foiled by a problem with the snap and hold.

Mart had an answer after the botched field goal try. The Panthers took over on their 26- yard line and scored in four plays. Jakeem Hoffman matched Ward's 58-yard run to get Mart back into the game. Matthew Schaeffer added the PAT to make the score 14-7.

The third quarter was a time for the defenses to shine. Mart punted three times and Lexington twice as the Eagle defense held Mart to 31-yards total offense. The defense was led by Josh Glass and Chance Sherrill. The Eagle pass defense was excellent as the Panthers passed five times in the quarter and completed one for three yards. Late in the period Lexington drove down to the Mart nine-yard line. Another botched field goal attempt caused Mart to take over on their own five. After three plays gained only three yards an uncharacteristic Mart punt went only 26-yards.

Lexington took over and scored in two plays. Tevin Lovings gained four on a reverse and Hutson broke on a 34 yard scoring run following some excellent blocking up front. Vacera again was true to make the score 21-7.

Mart was not beaten yet. True to their history they kept fighting and scored with 6:42 left in the game to bring the score to 21-14.

Glass had several big plays on defense for the Eagles. Tyler Moerbe batted down two passes in the contest. Chace Sherrill also came up big for the Eagles.

There was plenty of time for them to put pressure on the Eagle defense but the Eagle offense would not allow Mart the ball for a time. Taking the kick off, Lexington reeled off eight-plays, moving the ball down to the Mart 33-yard line before the drive stalled. A punt into the end zone put the ball 80- yards away from the Eagle end zone with less than three minutes to play. Mart was able to move the ball to near mid-field where the Eagle defense stiffened and Mart ran out of time. The Panthers' effort ended on a pass that was thrown under heavy duress by the Eagle defensive rush.

Coach Jason Holcomb said, "Xavier did a great job of running the ball early in the game and Clint did a great job late in the game. The two running backs profited from the improvement of the Eagle offensive line. The line still has a way to go, but they are getting better each game." Holcomb also was pleased with the coverage teams, punt and kick off, except for the second half kick off return.

After the long second half kick off return, the Eagle defense rose to the occasion and denied the Panthers any points at all. The big stop of the Panther offense was the turning point in the game. Lexington had the upper hand the rest of the way.

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