The North Pike Jaguars entered Friday’s District 6-4A opener on a two-game win streak. Unfortunately, they could not make it three, falling at Lanier 30-14.
“They are a pretty good football team,” North Pike head coach Chris Smith said of Lanier. “They did some things that made things tough for us on defense. (And) we just didn’t play very well on offense.”
One of the bright spots for the Jaguar (3-4, 0-1) offense came early when quarterback Alijah Martin completed a long pass down the field setting North Pike up in a prime spot. Shortly afterward running back Damuriyon Montgomery ran into the end zone from four yards out and with the Jace Brown PAT, the Jaguars enjoyed a 7-0 lead.
With about two minutes to go in the first quarter, Lanier took an 8-7 lead with a rushing touchdown and two-point conversion.
Following a North Pike defensive stand early in the second quarter, Jacoby Matthews hauled in a Lanier punt and took it to the house from 65 yards out. The Brown PAT made the score 14-8.
But Lanier answered right back six minutes later when Ladarius Mayes-Peals found the end zone from eight yards out. A successful two-point conversion gave the Bulldogs the lead at 16-14.
The Jaguars tried to answer, but a quick possession resulted in a punt back to the Bulldogs. With under a minute to go before halftime, Lanier added to its lead with a 25-yard touchdown pass and with the conversion, North Pike found itself down 24-14.
North Pike’s defense stepped up in the third quarter holding Lanier scoreless. However, the Jaguar offense could not follow suit. “We could not get a rhythm going,” Smith said. “We feel like we just couldn’t get anything going.”
The Bulldogs capped-off the scoring with under a minute to go making the score 30-14 following an eight-yard rushing touchdown.
After the game, Smith said that injuries have taken their toll on his team and getting some of his key players back will be huge.
“We’ve got to try and get everyone healthy,” he said. “We were missing two starting linebackers tonight and a starting cornerback. That is tough when you are missing three starters at key places and especially with two of those guys being seniors, so you not only lose their skill but also their senior leadership.”
The Jaguars return home Friday to host one of their Pike County rivals in the McComb Tigers.