Golden Tornado storms past Panthers

By T. Scott Boatright

HAYNESVILLE — The Golden Tornado stormed away in the second quarter and never looked back Thursday night as Haynesville bested Lincoln Preparatory School  43-14 at Caldwell-Peacock Stadium in a game that lasted a little more than three quarters. 

One thing Lincoln Prep coach Glen Hall was concerned about going in was seeing his team fall behind big in the game’s early going as the Panthers had done in the previous three games they lost.

But that’s not the way Lincoln Prep lost this time, with the Golden Tornado leading only 6-0 at the end of the first quarter.

“They opened it up in the second quarter and at halftime Haynesville led 26-12,” Hall said. “We felt we were still in it going into the third quarter, but we didn’t score anymore in the second half.”

The Panthers didn’t score in the second half, but that wasn’t due to lack of opportunities.

“We got into the red zone five more times in the second half,” Hall said. “I’m talking about down to the two-yard line, to the five-yard line … but we couldn’t get it in. 

Dmitry Payne did all of the scoring for the Panthers, with his first touchdown coming on a 90-yard kickoff return.

“We did a kind of flea flicker where Ta’Rell Simmons took the kickoff and I had him throw it back to Dmitry on the other side of the field and he ran it all the way back,” Hall said. “On the second one, I put Dmitry in the backfield and had him run a route up the sideline and Ta’Rell hit him for a 30-yard touchdown.”

In a game that featured significant chipiness between the team, an incident with around 10 minutes remaining ended the contest for good.

“They sacked my quarterback and got a penalty,” Hall said about how it all started. “My quarterback was trying to get up and the guy who tackled him got up and took my quarterback up in the air. He had him by his head and his neck. Then things erupted. Nobody threw any blows but we just had to get everybody back off the field. Then the refs talked and decided to end the game.”

Haynesville coach David Franklin was ejected from the game during the fracas.

“I don’t know what he did,” Hall said. “But I know they did eject him. I just wish they took control of the game earlier and stopped a lot of what was going on.”

Lincoln Prep now stands at 5-4 overall and 4-4 in District 1-1A and Hall has already turned his attention to next week’s regular-season finale at Plain Dealing on Thursday before beginning postseason play.

“I think we can get a home playoff game if we win next week,” Hall said. “Haynesville came in at No. 7 (in unofficial power rankings) and we were No. 10. So I really don’t expect us to drop with the loss to them. If we drop it will only be a spot or two.

“At the end of the season playing a district game and both teams are in the Top 10, the losing teams don’t usually fall in the ratings. So we’re just going to put this one behind us, focus on Plain Dealing and then the playoffs.”

Photo: Tony Valentino