BATON ROUGE – Having twice turned away Scotlandville’s potent offense with a pair of turnovers in the first and third quarters, Live Oak’s defense simply lost its grip on a tenuous one-point lead going into the fourth quarter.
Scotlandville’s explosive offense produced a pair of touchdowns on consecutive possessions and Live Oak wasn’t able to keep pace, dropping a 20-7 decision Friday to the Hornets in a District 4-5A encounter.
“You go into a game with a goal to figure out how to get to two scores,” Live Oak coach Brett Beard said. “Then you can survive the big play or survive the momentum swing. You still have the lead; you’re still playing and holding on. It’s something we’ve got to get better at.”
Live Oak (6-3, 1-3) carried a 7-6 halftime lead into the start of the fourth quarter, a slight edge that held up with help from a fumble recovery from defensive back Aiden Saunders and interception from linebacker Bret McCoy.
Neither of those turnovers resulted in points for the Eagles, who had five second-half possessions – three of which resulted in punts, a fumble and the ball being turned the ball over on downs.
“Three quarters is nothing,” Saunders said of Live Oak’s defensive effort. “We’ve got to play the whole game like that. We’re not playing when we’re supposed to and making mistakes.”
Saunders took his share of the blame on Scotlandville’s go-ahead touchdown with 10:34 left in the game.
Quarterback Jesse Craig rolled out away from Live Oak’s pressure and found Sylvester Bouligany for a 48-yard scoring pass. The Hornets made it 14-7 on Craig’s two-point pass to Jeremiah Harris.
“I should have been there on the roll out,” Saunders said. “We all make mistakes. We’ve got to come together, get it fixed and get it done.”
Scotlandville (6-3, 1-3), which stopped a three-game district losing streak, forced a three-and-out and increased its lead with a running game that took advantage of its speed on the outside of Live Oak’s defense.
The Hornets went on a 7-play, 64-yard drive that took consumed nearly three minutes with Chance Williams scoring on a 2-yard run on first-and-goal with 5:46 showing.
“That’s a tough, well-coached team across the board,” Scotlandville coach Lester Ricard said of Live Oak. “You know what you’re going to get when you play Live Oak. We overcame some self-inflicted wounds and I’m proud of our guys. We responded and played hard and got off this three-game slide.”
Tasked with a two-score deficit Live Oak crossed midfield on both of its final two drives but turned the ball over on downs at Scotlandville’s 22 following a fourth-down incompletion and ended the game at the Hornets’ 16-yard line.
LOHS was outgained for the game 325-249 with the Hornets becoming the first team to rush for 100 yards (115) against the Eagles defense.
Running back Kee Hawkins carried 26 times for 88 yards and a first-quarter touchdown, while quarterback Rhett Rosevear completed 13 of 20 passes for 134 yards. Bryon Smith topped all receivers with five catches for 40 yards.
“We’ve got to finish drives with points in key situations and we’re just not getting it done,” Beard said. “All you can do is go back to work, watch the film and clean it up. See what people are doing that gives us fits and have answers for it.”
Craig completed 14 of 24 to six different receivers for 221 yards and a pair of touchdowns to lead Scotlandville.
The difference in Live Oak’s 7-6 lead at halftime boiled down to a made extra point and a key defensive play with Scotlandville threatening to score late in the first quarter.
Craig swiftly marched Scotlandville down field in his team’s opening series, completing all four of his passes for 63 yards with a 16-yarder on second-and-10 finding Codavius Knighten in the end zone for a 6-0 lead.
Live Oak responded, though, with a 6-play, 74-yard drive in which the Eagles took a 7-6 lead on Hawkins’ 8-yard run on first-and-five following an illegal substitution penalty against Scotlandville and Crenshaw added the extra point.
The key play occurred on second-and-9 when Rosevear spotted Long for a 37-yard completion to the Hornets’ 26-yard line with Hawkins adding an 11-yard gain on first down followed by the penalty against the defense.
Long finished with four catches for 38 yards.
Scotlandville appeared headed for a go-ahead on score on its next series but James, on fourth-and-2 found plenty of room over the right sides. He gained 29 yards on the play, with LOHS’ defensive tackle Tyler Braun forcing a fumble which Saunders recovered at the Eagles’ 4-yard line with 1:04 left in the first quarter.
“We took a little step back,” Beard said. “We’re going to go in and get it cleaned up and get back to work for Week 10.”
Scotlandville 20, Live Oak 7
Score By Quarters
Live Oak 7 0 0 0 - 7
Scotlandville 6 0 0 14 - 20
SHS – Codavius Knighten 16 pass from Jesse Craig (kick failed)
LOHS – Kee Hawkins 8 run (Cole Crenshaw kick)
SHS – Sylvester Bouligny 45 pass from Craig (Craig pass to Jeremiah Harris)
First Downs 14 19
Rushing-Yards 38-115 29-115
Rushing Yards 134 221
A-C-I 13-20-0 14-24-1
Punts-Avg. 5-37.2 3-34
Fumbles-Lost 1-1 1-1
Penalties-Yards 8-65 6-50