Nacogdoches Hangs On For 42-35 Win Over Lindale
NACOGDOCHES -- In a must-win game for both teams, the Nacogdoches Dragons downed Lindale, 42-35, to stay in the thick of the playoff hunt Friday night at Dragon Stadium.
The Dragons' offense operated efficiently for most of the night. Hunter McClellan finished with 14 completions for 221 yards and two touchdowns through the air, adding another touchdown on a 7-yard scamper.
Coronado Tolbert added another three touchdowns and 209 yards on 33 carries. The Dragons (6-2, 3-2 in District 16-5A) had just one turnover all game.
Lindale’s Ryan Taylor continued to be the major scoring option for the Eagles (2-6, 1-3), finishing with four of the Eagles’ five touchdowns and 199 yards on 29 carries.
Eagles sophomore quarterback Montana Meador kept the Dragons' defense honest, however, finishing with 164 yards passing on 11 completions.
It was the defense that set the tone early in the game for both teams.
Kicking off the game, neither team could score on its opening possession, and Lindale’s scored the only touchdown of the first quarter on a 1-yard rush by Taylor go up 7-0.
The Dragons' defense forced several big plays early. Kyle Krenek intercepted the Eagles — his third game straight to register an interception — and Colin Carrell came up with a sack on Meador midway through the second quarter.
Nacogdoches tied the game at 7-7 on a 32-yard score from McClellan to Ken Rogers with 6:08 remaining in the second quarter.
Lindale responded with another Taylor touchdown on a 28-yard rush to regain a lead with 3:12 left in the half.
The Dragons tied the game at 14 when Tolbert scored on a 4-yard rush late in the first half.
Coming out of halftime, McClellan gave the Dragons their first lead of the game on a 7-yard quarterback keeper with 10:11 remaining in the third quarter.
On Lindale’s next possession, cornerback Jaylon Maxie came up with the Dragons’ second pick of the night and returned it to Lindale’s 10-yard line to give the Dragons' offense good field position.
McClellan delivered on the next drive, throwing a 7-yard touchdown to Tae Thomas to help Nacogdoches go up 28-14 with 8:32 remaining in the third quarter.
But the Eagles weren’t ready to give in just yet.
Taylor scored his third touchdown on the Eagles’ next drive to cut the Dragons’ lead to 28-21 with 2:52 to play in the quarter.
Kicking off the fourth, Tolbert scored his third touchdown on a 3-yard rush to restore a 14-point lead to the Dragons.
On Lindale’s next drive, the Dragons forced another sack and forced a turnover on downs.
McClellan tried to go deep on the offense’s first play the next drive, but Lindale’s Carson Mizell picked off the Dragons for their only turnover of the game to keep the Eagles within fighting distance.
Bryce Barkowsky scored on a 2-yard rush on the following possession to pull the Eagles within a score at 35-28 with 6:57 remaining in the game.
Tolbert responded quickly on the next drive, scoring on a 33-yard rush to go up 42-28 with 5:09 to play.
It took the Eagles a little over a minute to respond. Taylor scored his fourth and final touchdown on a 64-yard rush with 4:07 remaining to make the score 42-35.
Receiving the kickoff, the Dragons ran down the clock and converted a first down to kill off the game and take home the win.