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Lions hand Bulldogs first loss

September 13, 2023 - 00:00
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    Examiner photo by Traci Mabry Iola quarterback Tyler Elliott rolls out for a pass with Austin Calvillo providing protection in Sept. 8, action against the Lovelady Lions. The Bulldogs suffered their first loss of the season, 55-12.

IOLA — Lovelady handed the Iola Bulldogs their first loss of the season, 55-12, at Bulldog Stadium Sept. 8.

The Bulldogs (2-1) hoped to build off last week’s win over Normangee, but they couldn’t tame the Lions.

Lovelady (3-0) roared to five first-half scores including the first four of the game. They scored on runs of 14 and 39 yards and a 53-yard pass in the opening quarter. The Lions scored on a 44-yard run and 29-yard pass in the second.

Responding to Lovelady’s quick speed, Tyler Elliot connected with Landon Betancourt on a 23-yard touchdown pass. The kick failed, keeping the Lions in the lead, 28-6, with 5:31 remaining in the second quarter.

“We did some good things,” said Iola Head Coach Rex Sharp. “Our kids are getting better with the fundamentals and expectations of our program. Lovelady has a very good team. I am proud that our kids played with effort all four quarters.”

The Bulldogs fought hard to add points to the board with another 29-yard touchdown pass. Elliott connected with Adrian Garrett. The conversion failed for a 36-12 halftime score.

Iola got after the Lions defensively on a third-and-15 in the fourth quarter. Iola’s Blake Bennett sacked Seth Murray.

“It is a process in changing the culture. We are taking small steps, and I am proud,” said Sharp. “We need to clean up the mental breakdowns we are experiencing.”

Lovelady added three fourth quarter scores, a 42-yard pass and runs of 4 and 45 yards.

This week is battle of Bulldogs as Iola travels to Thorndale (0-3) Friday, Sept. 15. Kickoff is slated for 7:30 p.m.