SULLY — Deja vu can be a good thing sometimes.
Playing the same first-round opponent as last season, the Lynnville-Sully football team earned another victory over WACO of Wayland Wednesday night.
The Hawks dominated play in the first half and got out to a 28-0 lead, but had to hold off the charging Warriors in the second to punch their ticket for a rematch with district foe Montezuma on Monday.
“Their kids came to play tonight and it was just a dogfight in the trenches,” Lynnville-Sully coach Mike Parkinson said. “We have a little bit of a bend-but-don’t-break mentality sometimes, so we’ll give up some yards and first downs, but at the end of the day, we’re pretty darn tough at the end of a drive.”
Junior Caden Doll started the game in the best possible way for the Hawks with a 55-yard touchdown run on the first play from scrimmage. After holding WACO to a three-and-out on its first possession and junior TJ Cunningham forcing an interception on their second, the Hawks went up 14-0 at the end of the quarter when junior Bailee Samson ripped off a 59-yard run and Doll finished the drive with a one-yard plunge.
“If we get a big enough hole, it’s usually a good sign for us,” Doll said. “We have a great line and a great team when we get some open space. We had a little trouble scoring in the second half, but that’s just how the game goes.”
The second half troubles weren’t even close to a thought for the Hawks as Cunningham forced another pick on the Warriors’ third play of the second quarter. Although the Hawks were forced to punt directly after, their defense held WACO off once again. That lead to another big run from Samson, 49 yards this time, that set up a five-yard touchdown with 4:15 to go in the half.
Cunningham apparently saw his team heating up on offense and decided to give them the ball one more time. On a fake punt on the Warriors’ next possession, junior Daniel Zimmerman tipped the ball into the air and it landed right in Cunningham’s hands. He returned it all the way down to WACO 21, and that drive ended with a one-yard plunge by Zimmerman to give the Hawks their commanding 28-0 lead at the half.
“I’ve dreamed of doing that before, but I ‘ve never actually done it,” Cunningham said. “I couldn’t have done it without some of the play’s like Zimmerman’s tip, but it felt good. I think it helped bring them down a little bit, but I didn’t really think too much of it just because we had to keep playing.”
The second half proved to be a whole new beast for the Warriors as they came out swinging in their first drive and tested the Hawks’ bend-don’t-break style. Senior Tyler Ayers did most of the heavy lifting on what would be an 85-yard touchdown run that got the Warriors on the board, but also took about 10 minutes of the game clock, which already wasn’t in WACO’s favor.
“We were OK with that,” Parkinson said with a laugh. “If they were willing to chew up 10 minutes of clock when they’re down four scores, we’re going to keep plugging away. Any time you start recognizing your season’s almost at an end, you’re going to fight your hardest and WACO definitely brought that tonight.”
Doll appeared to fire right back on the first play of the Hawks’ next possession with a monstrous 55-yard touchdown run, but it was called back because of a penalty. The Hawks’ offense basically went into clock-killing mode after that, keeping the ball on the ground and seconds ticking.
The Warriors’ third-quarter touchdown was the first Lynnville-Sully’s defense had given up in about 22 quarters, and that apparently gave the Hawks the motivation it needed to keep WACO at bay for the rest of the game.
“The shutout thing was starting to get talked about, and the guys knew it was something kind of big,” Parkinson said. “But our philosophy is if we keep them under 13 points, we’ll be successful. Every game we’ve won this year, we’ve kept them under 13, so they understand that.”
Although the Hawks were pleased with the effort after the game, they also admitted to not playing a perfect game. It may not have been pretty at times in the second half, but games like that one could also prove to be valuable down the road, especially in the playoffs when tensions are high.
“It definitely sets the tone for the games to come,” Doll said. “We’re going to have to step it up for the next games because we didn’t expect them to come out as hard as they did. They gave us a good game, and we just fought hard to the finish.”
Lynnville-Sully will see another familiar opponent on Monday when Montezuma makes it second trip to Sully in three weeks. The Hawks defeated the Braves 21-0 last week to help clinch their district title. Parkinson said Monte began to get something going against the Hawks late in the game, and expects them to pick up where they left off.
Still, that didn’t seem to faze the Hawks, especially with how their defense has been playing as of late.
“I’m looking forward to beating them again,” Cunningham said. “They’re a good team, but I know we can beat them again.”
Lynnville-Sully 28, WACO 8
Score by quarter
W — 0 0 8 0 — 8
L — 14 14 0 0 — 28
L — Caden Doll 55-yard run (Jamie Rae kick good), 11:42
L — Caden Doll one-yard run (Rae kick good), 1:10
L — Bailee Samson five-yard run (Rae kick good), 5:15
L — Daniel Zimmerman one-yard run (Rae kick good), 0:27
W — Tyler Ayers one-yard run (Isaac Black two-point conversion), 2:48