Lake Dallas and Frisco Lebanon Trail entered Friday’s game looking to gain a clearer picture on the playoff race in District 7-5A-Div. 2.
It proved to be another step towards what could be the first playoff berth in school history for the Trail Blazers.
Lake Dallas had its chance to pull away early on, but it was Lebanon Trail who made the plays when it counted the most, as the Trail Blazers rallied for a 44-14 victory over the Falcons at Memorial Stadium.
It's the first 4-0 start in program history for Lebanon Trail, who had four total wins in each of their first two seasons as a varsity program.
“They’re all big games,” said Sadd Jackson, Lebanon Trail head coach. “We’ve got some heavy hitters in this district. We’ve got two teams who are ranked in the top 10 in the state in just about every poll there is. We’ve got some big-time games ahead of us and a lot of work to do. To give ourselves a 2-0 start gives ourself a chance.”
Lebanon Trail (4-0 overall, 2-0 7-5A-Div. 2) did so with 30 unanswered points after Lake Dallas scored on a 1-yard touchdown run by senior quarterback Trevor Moon. Despite squandering a scoring opportunity on their next drive, the Trail Blazers stole the momentum behind a goal-line stand later in the first quarter.
Lake Dallas (1-3, 0-3) was knocking the door again after a 38-yard pass play from Moon to senior Hunter Markham helped to push the ball down the field. The Falcons couldn’t capitalize. Facing fourth and goal from the Trail Blazer 2, Markham was stopped short of the goal line.
“You just can’t get down to the 1-yard line and not get a touchdown,” said Michael Young, Lake Dallas head coach. “We’ve got to score more points and put our defense in a better position. Our district is really top-heavy offensively. We’re going to have to do a lot better job to keep up.”
Markham caught two balls for 55 yards. Moon threw for 86 yards and also rushed 14 times for 75 yards.
Big plays by Moon helped Lake Dallas to get on the board first. He burst 36 yards on the first play from scrimmage. Eight plays later, Moon scrambled for 22 yards to move the ball to the Lebanon Trail 12. Markham finished the 12-play drive with a 1-yard run for the opening score.
The Trail Blazers found their groove late in the first quarter.
Senior quarterback Drew Martin found his favorite target, senior Drew Donley, on a 45-yard pass. Donley, an Ole Miss commit, caught the ball, fended off a Lake Dallas defender, then used his track speed to out-run the Falcon defense for the score and a 7-7 tie with 36 seconds left in the quarter.
“(The goal-line stand) was huge,” said Jackson. “It basically turned the momentum in our favor. That was one thing that we were trying to guard against, which was coming out slow. It seemed like we couldn’t make any plays on that first drive of theirs. Then, they got the ball back again and our stop just really changed the momentum of the game.”
Donley had three catches for 81 yards.
It wasn’t just Donley that gave Lake Dallas’ defense fits.
Martin used his legs to find the end zone for a 27-yard touchdown run and the first of 17 second-quarter points for the Trail Blazers. He finished the night 16 of 22 through the air with 211 yards and also rushed for 66 yards on 10 carries with two total touchdowns.
After a three and out by Lake Dallas, Lebanon Trail increased its lead to 21-7 after a 34-yard scamper by Parker Mawhee. Donley’s speed played a big role in the scoring. He drew two defensive penalties on the Falcons.
Cooper Robertson kicked a 41-yard field goal as time expired in the half to put the bow on a big turnaround for the Trail Blazers, who took a 24-7 lead at intermission.
Lake Dallas made a change at quarterback in the third quarter.
Junior Brendan Sorsby came in for Moon who came out of the game for precautionary reasons after being hit multiple times in the first half.
Sorsby connected with Aundre Minnifield on a 55-yard touchdown run to cut the Lebanon Trail lead to 30-14 with less than 10 minutes remaining in the game.
On this night, though, Greg Hatley proved to be the ultimate finisher for Lebanon Trail.
Hatley ran 52 yards for a touchdown on the second play of the ensuing Trail Blazer drive to ice the victory for his team. He rushed 11 times for 99 yards with two touchdowns. His first score came on a 10-yard run with 3:14 remaining in the third quarter for a 30-7 lead.
“I can’t say enough about Greg Hatley,” said Jackson. “He made big plays whenever he got his hands on the ball. And our offensive line did a good job. We didn’t have a whole lot of penalties like we did the last three games.”
This win sets up a huge showdown of the battle of unbeaten Friday night at Ford Center when Lebanon Trail takes on Frisco (3-0), who is coming off a bye week.
Lake Dallas, meanwhile, will look to snap a three-game losing streak the same night, against surging Frisco Liberty, who is coming of a wild 58-51 victory over Frisco Memorial.