Rabbs fall to Lions in season opener
Atlanta opened its season versus sixth-ranked Henderson last Friday evening at Atlanta Rabbit Stadium. Henderson is not only a 4A-D1 school but a very tough opponenet to open the season against.
Most teams are able to make changes in the coming weeks after game one so playing a tough Lions’ team right out of the gate was a tall order for the Rabbs as they fell by a score of, 36-0.
Atlanta had never been shutout under AD Matt McClure and it is the first time the team has been shutout since they suffered two, 40-0, shutouts at the hands of Liberty-Eylau and Daingerfield in 2010.
Henderson won the toss but deferred to the second half and the Rabbs began their first drive of the 2017 season beginning at the 30-yard line.
Early jitters may have played into two incomplete passes and a 0-yard gain by Jawan King on the first drive which forced the Rabbs to punt with 11:11 showing on the clock.
A shanked punt put Henderson at the Rabbs’ 45. The Lions scored at the 5:45 mark after an 11 play drive ended with an 8-yard touchdown.
The 2-point play was successful and the Lions were up, 8-0.
Atlanta’s next drive stalled and the Rabbs punted the ball back to Henderson with 4:38 left in the first frame.
Both teams punted to each other with the clock dwindling down, but it was the Lions who completed a 42-yard pass with mere seconds on the clock to pull within three yards of the goal line.
It only took the Lions five seconds to score from three yards out and with the good point after touchdown Henderson was up, 15-0, with 11:55 on the clock.
Atlanta’s drive opened with positive yardage as quarterback Andy Samples hit wideout Luke Anthony for six yards, but a few plays later a penalty on fourth down brought out the punt team with 10:52 left in the second quarter.
Henderson’s first play of its next drive was stuffed by a smothering Atlanta defense for no gain, but the second play was a 45-yard TD scamper for the Lions. After another successful PAT Henderson was up, 22-0, with 9:49 left in the first half.
The Rabbs’ next drive looked promising at Kade Wood took the kick off from deep in Rabbit territory and crossed midfield with the ball.
Two plays later Henderson scored on a pick-6 with 9:21 left in the second stanza.
The PAT put the Lions up 29-0.
Atlanta began to play small ball on its next drive as King took five consecutive handoffs for a total of 21 yards before Samples completed a pass to King between two defenders for 23 yards.
King carried the ball 12 yards to the Lion 14-yard line but four plays later the ball was turned over on downs with 4:13 left in the first half.
Henderson scored on the next drive but a penalty against the Lions negated the score, and the halftime score was, 29-0.
Henderson received the ball to begin the second half and scored on a 63-yard, six-play drive with 9:03 left in the third quarter.
The PAT made the score, 36-0.
Atlanta kept the ball on the ground with King and Samples carrying the ball at different times and the Rabbs took their 14-play drive into the fourth quarter.
Atlanta began its drive at the 21-yard line and had moved to the 39 by the opening of the final quarter.
King took the ball 22 yards into Lion territory with dashes of runs by Samples and Drae Nelson, but a stalled run on fourth down from the 20 gave the ball back to Henderson with time running down.
Henderson tried to run down the clock as much as possible but ended up punting the ball to Atlanta with 2:20 showing on the clock.
The game ended with Nelson carrying the ball four times for 14 yards.
The Rabbits visit Daingerfield next week with kickoff slated for 7:30 p.m.