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‘Jackets sting Tigers to move to 5-0

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It was another night at the office for Lebanon head coach Will Christian and his team on Friday night as the Yellowjackets took care of business against the Waynesville Tigers on the road on Friday night, 51-6. 

Lebanon moved to 5-0 on the year with the win, while Waynesville dropped to 1-4.

On the first offensive drive of the night, with Lebanon driving, the Tigers forced a fumble and recovered it on their own goal line, but a stand by the ‘Jackets’ defense forced a punt, and from there, Lebanon rolled for a majority of the game.

Junior Jax Glendenning barreled his way into the end zone from one yard out midway through the first quarter for the game’s first score of the night.

On the ensuing Waynesville drive, senior Griffin Jones read a play-action pass from Brandon Howard and picked the ball off to give Lebanon excellent field position.

Lebanon used the turnover to their advantage, marching down the field in five plays, going 45 yards, and capped off by a touchdown run from senior quarterback Gavin Smith to go up 14-0.

The ‘Jackets were done scoring for the quarter, but two touchdowns from Smith and Glendenning put LHS up 28-0 with 2:14 remaining in the first quarter.

After receiving the ball back from Waynesville with 45 seconds to play in the first half and needing to march 85 yards to score, Lebanon did just that with perfect offensive execution.

An incompletion on first down led to a screen pass from Smith to Glendenning for nearly 20 yards, and a 15-yard roughing the passer penalty put the ‘Jackets nearly at midfield.

Smith found senior Hoyt Honey two plays in a row on consecutive plays, and another 15-yard unnecessary roughness penalty allowed Lebanon to bring on sophomore Rhett Rhoades, who buried a 36-yard field goal attempt as time expired to go up 31-0 into halftime.

“It was a great kick, and we do have confidence in Rhett,” stated Lebanon head coach Will Christian. “I would have dialed it up even if it was a little bit deeper, but certainly from the 20-yard line that he is capable of making it and consistent, too. It starts with Caden Crabtree’s snap, Drew Bowling’s hold, and the whole protection.”

In the second half, the offensive parade continued for Lebanon as the ‘Jackets accumulated over 400 yards of offense for the game.

Glendenning broke free on a 61-yard house call in the second half, but kudos to the Tigers for not going away quickly as junior Michael Kelsey Jr. found pay dirt on a 39-yard touchdown run late in the third quarter.

Smith scored his third touchdown on a six-yard carry to make it 44-6, and Carsyn Hill capped the scoring for the ‘Jackets in the fourth quarter.

For the game, Smith finished with 104 rushing yards, 63 passing yards, and three touchdowns. Glendenning had 15 carries for 186 yards and three scores, while Lebanon had 17 first downs.

Christian said he was proud of how Smith responded after the fumble on the first drive.

“I thought Gavin had an electric night with all of the elements,” he said. “I thought we had a great game plan coming in. Coach (Kurtis) Allen and his staff did a nice job. We had some great tendencies and keys. I thought Gunner Williams was phenomenal. He was in the backfield every play, wreaking havoc.

“I thought our guys played well, and you have to give kudos to coach (Kyle) Barkley for his team’s effort in the second half. They forced us to make in-game adjustments, which is good for our kids because it will be necessary again.”

The Lebanon football team was playing with heavy hearts on Friday as sophomore JJ Hutson sustained severe injuries in a car accident over the weekend. Christian provided an update on the LHS football player.

“JJ had surgery, and it was a success,” he explained. “He is recovering nicely, and his approach to this whole thing has been absolutely outstanding. On Tuesday, I had an opportunity to visit him, and he has the right approach 100 percent. He has a team full of brothers and coaches that love him.

“We still value him and what he is going to bring to our team in inspiration. One of our messages we talked about is that JJ would like to have this opportunity, so we told our guys not to take it for granted and spoil their opportunity. We are going to be there for him and by his side during this journey.”

Lebanon will take their undefeated record into Springfield next week as they face the Glendale Falcons on Friday night, with kickoff beginning at 7:00 p.m.

“I think we have a solid approach and a lot of options,” Christian said of the gameplan on defense. “Camdenton forced us to make adjustments with the defense last year that we run against the offense, so we have multiple options and not just one thing. We have to execute it and identify from the film how Kylan Mabins changes things for Glendale. We know he is a good passer, so we have to assess that. Glendale is a good football team and is well-coached.”

Alex Boyer

Alex Boyer