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Hallsville QB Austin Toney Provides 4 TDs in a 31-28 Comeback Win Against Lindale

Hallsville QB Austin Toney threw for almost 300 yards and ran for three touchdowns in a 31-28 win against Lindale. (Christopher Vinn, ETSN.fm)

HALLSVILLE –The Hallsville Bobcats overcame an 11-point fourth-quarter deficit to post a 31-28 win over the Lindale Eagles before a homecoming crowd at Bobcat Stadium on Friday.

Hallsville senior quarterback Austin Toney completed 22 of 27 passes for 286 yards passing with one touchdown and another three touchdowns on the ground to lead the Bobcats to their first homecoming win in six years. Toney’s primary receiver, Andre Jones, was a crucial part of Toney’s success, torching Lindale’s secondary for 216 yards receiving on 13 catches.

Despite Hallsville rolling up 421 yards offense, Lindale made it a game on just 221 yards of offense, along with two ill-timed Bobcat fumbles and twelve Bobcat penalties for 100 yards.

Trailing 28-17, Hallsville got a huge play from defensive end Coby Bradford. The senior standout, who entered the game with an East Texas-leading 7 1/2 sacks stripped Lindale’s Delenis Garrett, knocking the ball into the waiting arms of Hallsville defenders in the end zone to keep the Bobcats’ deficit at 11 points.

If Bradford’s forced fumble was the biggest play of the evening, then Toney’s wrap-around handoff to Thaddeus Fagan was the second. Fagan rumbled for 27 yards to the Lindale six-yard line, his longest run of the night, to set up Toney’s six-yard touchdown run on the following play, closing the gap to 28-23 in the fourth quarter.

More importantly, Lindale sophomore linebacker Dee Jackson, with his 10-plus tackles and two forced fumbles on the night, left the game with an injury. Jackson’s play nearly single-handedly stymied Hallsville’s offensive machine, and without him, Lindale found itself without its top defensive playmaker.

With a minute left in the game, Toney scored the go-ahead touchdown on a three-yard run up the middle, and Santos Estrada’s two-point conversion on a sweep left out of the power-I formation provided the Bobcats’ with their 31-28 lead.

The drama lasted until the very last play, as a solid kickoff return, a personal foul, and an offside penalty brought the Eagles within field goal range. Lindale kicker Luc Swimberghe, who hit 4 of 4 PATs, missed short on a 52-yard field goal attempt as time expired after a false start penalty pushed the ball back five yards to make it a 50-plus-yard try.

Hallsville’s Jesse Navarro had a first-quarter interception that led to Paden Brown’s 31-yard field goal. Lindale’s Josiah Johnson had a 48-yard touchdown run, and Toney threw a screen-pass TD to Kha’lil Sneed. Garrett answered that score with a five-yard touchdown run.

Late in the first half, Lindale’s Cody Slice hit Dakota Meurer for a one-handed, 12-yard touchdown grab following one of Jackson’s fumble recoveries. That touchdown put Lindale ahead 21-10 at intermission.

Toney added a 10-yard, third-quarter touchdown run, but the Eagles answered with a five-yard score of their own to push their lead to 28-17, setting up Bradford’s game-changing forced fumble and the Bobcats’ fourth-quarter comeback.

Hallsville hosts Nacogdoches on Friday, while Lindale visits Pine Tree.

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