The Plain Dealing Lions defeated the Ringgold Redskins 26-12 in a District 1-1A game Thursday night in Ringgold.
Plain Dealing improved to 4-3 overall and 2-1 in district. Ringgold dropped to 2-4 and 0-3.
The game wasn’t without its tense moments. Plain Dealing led 20-6 in the fourth quarter when Ringgold got the ball deep in Lions territory after a tipped punt. The Redskins scored, but the Lions stopped the conversion and led 20-12.
Plain Dealing then fumbled the ball back to Ringgold. But freshman defensive end Giovanni Smith picked off a pass with about 3 1/2 minutes left to play. Shavolyea McKinney raced 45 yards on the next play for his second touchdown of the night.
Demeiko Ford and Keldrick Carper also scored rushing touchdowns for the Lions.
Plain Dealing now has one more win than last season, James Thurman’s first as head coach. The Lions have games left against Cedar Creek (4-2, 2-0), D’Arbonne Woods (3-3, 1-1) and Arcadia (4-2, 2-1).
While all three will be challenges, Thurman believes his team has a realistic shot at the district’s runner-up spot behind Haynesville with a strong finish.
After last week’s disappointing 22-12 loss to Lincoln Prep, Thurman basically said that this week would show what kind of character the team has.
He was pleased with how his players responded. Monday was a holiday and the Lions started practice at 9 a.m.
Thurman said three starters didn’t show up. Two asked to make up for it by running and started against Ringgold. The other chose to accept as his punishment sitting out the first quarter. Thurman said he came in, played hard and made some plays Thursday night.
The Lions played without tight end/linebacker Derreon Washington and wingback/linebacker Jarvis Johnson, who were injured in the first quarter of last week’s game.
Thurman said other players stepped up against Ringgold.
“They played well, especially considering Johnson and Derreon Washington weren’t in the game,” he said. “It’s kind of hard not having two of your best linebackers there. We went to a 5-2 (defense) and had just two linebackers in. The defense played well tonight.
“We still have some things we have to clean up. I think we lost two or three fumbles tonight. The penalties are hurting us here and there. But we’re getting better.”
— Russell Hedges, email@example.com