First half deficit dooms Lions

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Cannon County tailback Hawk Love, 4, dives over a Cascade defender and into the end zone to finish off a 58-yard touchdown run.

After Cannon County had spotted visiting Cascade 20 points before it ran an offensive play the Lions settled in and played competitive football the rest of the way.

Problem is it took Cascade less than six minutes to take control and leave the Lions in a quandry. Playing catch-up is not a favorable position with an offense that has not demonstrated big-play potential.

Cannon County junior Hawk Love did display big-play capabilities and a strong running game for the second straight outing. Love provided Cannon County’s only touchdown when he took a handoff, bounced to the outside and went 58 yards for the score. Love finished with a career-high 100 yards. It was also Cannon County’s first 100-yard rusher since Gabriel Walkup in 2010.

“I’ve just been trying to run hard and the offensive line has blocked well,” Love said. “We are starting to move the ball but we have to quit hurting ourselves with turnovers.”

Cascade scored 21 of its 41 points following Cannon County turnovers.

Cannon County (0-6) trailed Cascade 20-0 before running its first offensive play Friday. After the Champions scored on their opening drive, Cannon County fumbled the ensuing kickoff. Cascade recovered and needed just three plays to go 28 yards for the touchdown and a 14-0 lead with 8:19 remaining in the first quarter.
Cascade attempted and recovered an onside kick but the Lions defense held and forced a punt. Cannon County fumbled the punt, Cascade recovered, and scored one play later to extend the lead to 20-0 with 6:34 remaining in the first quarter.

The Lions were much better in the second half. They didn’t allow a score by Cascade and put seven on the board on Love’s run, but the early damage was too much to overcome.

“It goes back to the same thing,” Cannon County Head Coach Brent Bush said. “We can’t keep shooting ourselves in the foot and expect to win. Turnover ratio is such a big number and we are not giving ourselves a chance in that area. We have way too many turnovers. Those miscues take away scoring opportunities for us and that is part of the reason we struggle to put points on the board.”

Cannon County had several defensive standouts, led by B.J. Daniel, Jonathan Smith and Ethan Smith. Jonathan Smith finished with five sacks and two tackles for loss. Daniel had another double-digit tackle performance with 14. He came into the game averaging 15.5.

Dalton Ryan, Dillion Jackson and Jarrett Melton also were active defensively.
Cannon County will travel to Livingston Academy for a District 8-AA encounter Friday. Kickoff is 7 p.m.

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