Long Reach hands Howard first defeat

Turnovers are undoing of No. 6 Lions, 13-7

Football

High schools

October 16, 1999|By Rick Belz | Rick Belz,SUN STAFF

The Long Reach Lightning took advantage of Howard turnovers to upset the No. 6-ranked and previously unbeaten Lions, 13-7, last night before a packed stadium at Howard.

The Lightning (4-3 overall, 4-2 league) converted two first-period Howard fumbles into touchdowns, and its defense did the rest, holding Howard to 17 yards in the first half and 96 yards for the game.

Long Reach's Tally White rushed 17 times for 118 yards, and Robert Francois had 85 yards on 17 carries.

"This has definitely made my season," White said. "Both teams played their hearts out, and it's too bad there couldn't be two winners."

Long Reach, which is 4-0 against Howard (6-1, 5-1), was fired up throughout the game, its sidelines virtually exploding with emotion on every play.

"I told them before the game that there are only three certainties in this life," Long Reach coach Pete Hughes said. "Death, taxes and we do not lose to Howard. Most kids with a 3-3 record would have quit. Our kids didn't."

Long Reach drove 60 yards on 11 plays after recovering a fumble in the first quarter, and Eric Burnett scored from two yards out.

The Lightning scored again on the fourth play of the second quarter, with White carrying for seven yards and capping a six-play, 41-yard drive that followed a Howard fumble.

Howard, which had only four turnovers all season, lost three fumbles to Long Reach. The Lightning turned the ball over twice.

An interception by Joey Tortella of Howard led to the Lions' only score early in the third quarter.

Howard drove 56 yards on five plays, capped by Antuan Jones' 32-yard touchdown romp.

Long Reach fumbled on first down on its next possession at its 36-yard line. But an illegal procedure penalty, a dropped pass and a personal foul penalty prevented the Lions from scoring.

"The key for us was sustaining possession," White said. "Previously this season our defense was on the field three quarters of the game, and tonight we were able to even it out. All records are out the window when we play this team."

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