[By Anthony Hawthorne, Special to ETSN.fm]

TYLER -- Lindale head coach Mike Meador pointed to his defense, specifically his defensive line and secondary, as strengths coming into the 2015 season.

The defense as a whole was on full display Friday night as the Eagles opened the season with a 27-0 shutout victory against Chapel Hill at Bulldog Stadium.

A stout Eagles defense held a potent Bulldogs offense in check all night, and the Lindale offense rode the legs of Ryan Taylor to victory.

The senior tailback carried the ball 25 times for 132 yards and two scores while quarterback Montana Meador was efficient all night, completing 7 of 15 passes for 115 yards. Kendrick price hauled in four catches for 51 yards.

“He’s (Taylor) a workhorse,” coach Meador said of his tailback. “He’s gonna be a story people are really going to love to hear about. He was a B-Team kid in ninth grade and last year he really stepped up. He works hard and he doesn’t complain. He’s a kid I love to death and he’s gonna help us go a long way.”

After jumping out to a 20-0 lead at the half, the Eagles controlled the clock in the second half, scoring on their opening possession after the break for the lone points of the half.

Taylor picked up where he left off in the first half with touchdown runs of 13 and 9 yards, and Meador’s 17-yard strike to Kam Neely on third-and-15 helped set up the score as two plays later Taylor rumbled in from 11 yards away for a 27-0 lead.

The defense more than did its part, limiting the Bulldogs to just 58 yards in the second half.

“I thought our defense was going to be one of our strengths” Meador said. “They played great. Our D-line played special and I thought our secondary really stepped up.”

The shorthanded Bulldogs, who entered the game without two-way standout Reggie King due to injury, lost quarterback Konnor Hitchcock to an injury in the third quarter.

Hitchcock finished the night completing 4 of 11 passes for 48 yards, as the Eagles gave up just 78 yards through the air. Ja’Braylon Franklin led the way for the Bulldogs with 89 yards on 10 carries.

“I thought they played great,” said Meador of his team's performance. “The Whitehouse game last year sparked us to have a good offseason and a good summer. The kids came ready to play. I was very pleased. I think Chapel Hill had some key players that were out, and it’s the first ball game. Hopefully we will get better and so will they.”

The Eagles (1-0) got a spark on the opening kickoff, as Tayton Williams took the kick 57 yards, setting up good field position on the opening drive.

Their drive would stall at the 14-yard line, where Jordan Lawless hit his first field goal of the night from 31 yards away.

The Bulldogs' opening possession didn’t go quite as planned.

A personal foul penalty pushed them back deep in their own territory where they were forced to punt. The punt skipped low and into the end zone where Eagle lineman Tyler Segrest pounced on it for a quick 10-0 lead.

The next possession wasn’t much better for the Bulldogs, as Hitchcock’s third down pass was intercepted by Carson Mizell, who returned it to the Chapel Hill 29.

A roughing the passer penalty on an incomplete pass on third-and-7 set the Eagles up at the 13-yard line, where Taylor hit the sideline and found the end zone. Lawless’ extra point made it 17-0 with 2:40 remaining in the first quarter.

The Bulldogs (0-1) couldn’t find a rhythm in the first half, as their next three possessions ended in a pair of punts and a missed field goal, with just one first down among those drives.

Lindale’s longest drive of the half spanned just over six minutes and included 16 plays.

Starting at their own 6, the Eagles used the legs of Taylor, whose runs of 6, 20 and 9 yards moved the ball into field goal range for Lawless who tacked on another, this one from 37 yards away, for a 20-0 halftime lead.

Lindale plays host to Carthage next week, while Chapel Hill will play Whitehouse next Thursday at Trinity Mother Frances Rose Stadium.

Lindale 27, Chapel Hill 0

At Bulldog Stadium, New Chapel Hill

Lindale         17     3       7          0  --  27
Chapel Hill     0      0       0          0  --   0
First Quarter
LIN – Jordan Lawless 31 FG 8:48
LIN – Tyler Segrest fumble recovery (Lawless kick) 6:43
LIN – Ryan Taylor 13 run (Lawless kick) 2:40
Second Quarter
LIN – Lawless 37 FG 8:33
Third Quarter
LIN – Taylor 11 run (Lawless kick) 5:58

LIN               CH
First Downs                16                  7
Total Yards                 317                195
Rushes-Yards             41-202           25-117
Pass Yards                 115                 78
Comp-Att-Int              7-15-0             9-21-1
Penalties-Yards          11-79              6-48
Fumbles-Lost             1-0                  1-0
Punts-Avg                  3-38                5-50

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING – Lindale, Ryan Taylor 25-132, Montana Meador 2-5, Tayton Williams 3-30, Zac Alvarez 9-28, Cameron Jenkins 2-7. Chapel Hill, Ja’Braylon Franklin 10-89, Konnor Hitchcock 8-33, Deandre Hordge 3-8, Tanner Heckel 3-(minus-18), Adrian Miner 1-5.  
PASSING – Lindale, Meador 7-15 115. Chapel Hill, Hitchcock 4-11-1--48 Heckel 5-10-0--30.
RECEIVING – Lindale, Kendrick Price 4-51, Williams 1-38, Bryce Deupree 1-9, Kam Neely 1-17. Chapel Hill, Zack Walters 5-54, Kenyotta Henderson 2-9, Deundre Phillips 1-9, Franklin 1-6