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Mental Erros Sink Lions to Silsbee Tigers, SILSBEE, September 22, 2012 - Okay, after playing 5A College Park and losing, then getting beat by the Dayton Bronco Machine, I figured the Livingston Lions could use a morale booster and go out and beat a decent Silsbee team. Sure, the Silsbee Tigers are a 3A school, but they're a good team nonetheless, and when it gets down to it, when the two teams take the field, it's still 11 on 11. I knew the Lions could come into this place and assert themselves with a convincing win over the Tigers and let it spring them into district play on a positive note. Alas, these Lions haven't jelled yet. They're still committing the same offenses that doomed 'em in week 1 when they played the College Park Cavaliers. What's the deal here man? The rust should be knocked off by now. The Lions should be hitting on all cylinders. Coach Rowe can't take the field for the Lions. There's no doubt in my mind that this team is physically fit (in a football sense), and that they know what they're supposed to do, but for some reason, mental errors are holding them back from being so much better.
The most glaring weakness on this night was special teams. I counted 3 touchdowns scored by Silsbee as a direct result of special teams errors. A kickoff return for a touchdown, a punt return for a touchdown, and a muffed punt that was recovered by the Tigers (in which a TD was scored on the very next play). In football, kickoff returns and punt returns for touchdowns happen (espcially in high school), but 2 in the same night, and the muffed punt?...(I'm not going to mention the extra point that was blocked and nearly taken the distance by Silsbee). These mental errors aren't characteristic of a disciplined Randy Rowe coached football team. I have a feeling, that Coach Rowe and his special teams coaches will be discussing this little problem. There's a 21 point swing is directly attributed to special teams. Take that away and the Lions win by 10.
If its not bad enough to have a special teams meltdown, then 4 Lion turnovers (not counting the muffed punt), should pretty much seal the fate of just about any football team. As always, I'm going by memory, so if I'm in error, please let us know. I counted two interceptions thrown by the Lions and two lost fumbles. If my memory serves me correctly, at least two of those turnovers resulted in Silsbee touchdowns. Protect the ball, watch who you're throwing to. Silsbee picked off one pass in the endzone when the Lions were knocking on the door and were on the verge to taking control of the game, instead, Silsbee took the wind right out of the Lion sails. The pick was thrown directly to the Silsbee defender and there was no Lion receiver around. Mental errors. They happen. It's part of the game. But they shouldn't happen in epidimic proportions.
If you cut out all the mental errors, the Lions easily win this game. They're clearly talented and can play the game with the best teams. I was really impressed that the Lions passing game is starting to show something other than long bombs. Collins was throwing some nice short to medium range higher percentage passes. In today's high school football, defenses can clamp down on a running game if they know you're not going to pass. A well balanced offense with a passing game opens up the Lions bread and butter running game. There was one picture perfect long bomb from Collins to Anfernee Wilson for a touchdown (see the highlight reel and play of the week). Kade Burman continues to be a dominant force defensively and is playing at a very high level. Brian Jackson is also emerging as another defensive force that must be accounted for. DeOndre' "Mr. Nasty" Jackson is still a head hunter and is also being used offensively. Jackson should be getting a good look from some colleges (in my un-expert opinion).
District play begins Friday night at the Lion's Den when the Lions take on Little Cypress/Mauriceville. I still believe we don't need to panic yet. I believe the Lions will have the kinks worked out and we can have a great season (assuming we have all the rust knocked off by gametime).
Willie P. Openshaw, Editor
Quarterback Chevoski Collins fights for yardage.
DeOndre' "Mr. Nasty" Jackson is getting offensive play in 2012.
Kade Burman sacks the Silsbee QB. Burman has turned into a terrible monster that offenses have to account for.
DeOndre' Jackson attempts to block a Silsbee punt.
Brian Jackson brings down the Silsbee QB. Jackson is coming on strong as defensive force.
The Tigers' number 11 cruises into the endzone on a kick return.
Number 11 picks off a Lion pass. "11" was a huge thorn in the side of the error proned Lions.
Marquise Thomas had a good night. Here Thomas hauls in a pass...
...and sprinted into the endzone for a 37 yard TD.
Chevoski Collins plows through Tigers to force a 2 point conversion.
Collins looks for an open receiver. The Lions' usually dormant passing game came alive in Silsbee.
Marquise Thomas had a productive evening both offensively and defensively.
Anfernee Wilson hauled in a beautiful rainbow bomb from Collins and...
...skated in for a Lion TD.
That number 11 again (yes for another long touchdown).
The Silsbee Tigers are a throwing football team. They reportedly threw over 30 times in their prior game last week.
Silsbee completes another pass.
As usual, Burman gets serious air when teams try to kick for points.
Collins makes a B line for the endzone. At one point, the Lions led 24 to 10 only to watch their lead quickly evaporate and they never caught back up with Silsbee.
Chevoski Collins looks for daylight on a QB Keeper.
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