Lindale Rallies To Knock Off Rival Van Before District Play Begins
[Anthony Hawthorne, Special to ETSN.fm]
VAN -- When two bitter rivals, separated by just 15 miles, get together on the gridiron you can typically expect a nail-biter, and on Friday night at Van’s Memorial Stadium you got just that.
The Lindale Eagles spoiled homecoming festivities for the Vandals, pulling out of an early deficit and hanging on late thanks to a Carson Mizell interception to come away with a 28-27 victory in front of a packed house.
After trailing 17-0 early, the Eagles took a halftime lead thanks to 21 unanswered points in the second quarter and looked to have all the momentum heading into the second half.
Looking to regain the lead, the passing game of the Vandals awoke on the second possession of the third quarter to help them do just that.
Having thrown for just 29 first half yards, the Vandals completed all three of their passes on a quick four-play, 60-yard drive with the duo of Garrett Mosley and Kendrick Jones hooking up for plays of 23 yards, 21 yards and a 14-yard score to give Van a 24-21 lead midway through the third.
Lindale (2-1) responded with a four-play drive of its own to regain the lead.
Montana Meador, who completed 13 of his 24 passes on the night for 157 yards and a score, hooked up with Nick Navarro for an 18-yard completion to the Eagle 29-yard line.
Ryan Taylor, the workhorse senior tailback, went for 25 yards on the next play. Tayton Williams scored from 4 yards out on the games next play.
Taylor finished the night with 143 yards on 22 carries with a score while Williams took advantage of his chances, scoring twice and picking up 25 yards on just five carries.
The Eagles' defense toughened as the game went along, limiting the Vandals chances throughout.
Van tailback Aphonso Thomas, a Nebraska pledge, started the game with 66 yards on his first four carries, but he was limited by a stiff Lindale front to just 24 yards the remainder of the way on 11 carries.
Mosley completed 6 of 16 passes for 87 yards and two touchdowns. Jones was the beneficiary of most of those passes, catching seven passes for 87 yards and two scores.
“Our defense really stepped up” Lindale head coach Mike Meador said. “We put them in some horrible situations but continued to battle. Second half, they did have one long drive, but our guys turned it around after that and won us the ballgame. I’m extremely proud of our defense.”
The legs of Mosley did most of the work as Van mounted a drive that stretched into the fourth quarter in an attempt to take the lead.
The offense worked its way to the Eagle 10-yard line, however Mosley's third down pass fell incomplete. Jozef Ruiz’s 27-yard field goal brought Van within a point.
Lindale and Van exchanged punts from that point.
Starting at their own 5-yard line with 1:30 remaining, the chance was there for a heroic comeback drive for Mosley and company. Mizell had other plans.
The defensive back snagged his second and biggest interception of the season on a deep route up the middle, out-jumping the receiver for the pass.
The Eagles were able to kill the clock, escaping with the victory, their third in a row at their rival's home field.
“It’s huge” Meador said. “We go into an open week next week and momentum-wise we really needed that. The way our kids battled, down 17-0 two weeks in a row now, and we’ve battled back and made it a ballgame. I’m so proud of our kids. They battled their tails off.”
The Vandals started the game on a roll, taking advantage of field position to jump ahead.
Following an opening three-and-out by the Eagles, the Vandals started at the Lindale 42-yard line after a 16-yard punt.
Mosley converted a 3rd-and-11 with his legs on a 12-yard scramble. Two plays later, he hit Jones in stride up the seam for a 20-yard socring strike.
Trailing 7-0, the Eagles were forced into another three-and-out. That was followed by a 6-yard on their next drive.
Thomas’s 23-yard carry put the Vandals inside the 10-yard line, however the Eagles escaped further damage when Mosley fumbled at the goal line. Defender Tike Porter recovered the ball in the end zone.
Lindale continued to offer up great field position to the Vandals. A failed fake punt attempt by the Eagles put them in jeopardy for more damage.
The Eagle defense rose up, holding the Vandals to a field goal, an impressive one at that. Ruiz was good from 47 yards away for a 10-0 Van lead.
The Vandals tacked onto their lead after the Eagles were stuffed by Reilly Krumvieda 4th-and-short.
Three Thomas runs set up quarterback Connor Houston for a 17-yard touchdown run on his first carry of the night.
Lindale finally woke up in the middle of the second quarter, with a little help from the Vandals.
But the Eagles needed just the three next plays to get on the board.
Meador hit Cameron Sir Louis on a rollout for a 10-yard score, cutting the Vandal lead to 17-7.
The Eagle defense came alive along with the offense, forcing the Vandals into consecutive three-and-outs to close the half.
Lindale’s offense did their part, with Meador connecting with Kendrick Price for a 43-yard bomb to set up Taylor for his 21-yard score down the left sideline.
Starting at the Van 38-yard line the Eagles gained their first lead of the game on a quick five-play drive to set up Williams for the 4-yard score around the right side for a 21-17 halftime score.
Lindale will be idle next week, but it will open District 16-5A play the following week against Corsicana.
Van will travel to Brownsboro on Friday.