Pirates fall to Beavers
hAll week before Drew Central entertained Lake Village Lakeside, Pirate head coach Rob Cox said he was concerned about No. 18. He had reason to be.
Aaron Kilgore, a 5-foot-11, 195-pound junior quarterback, wears that jersey number for the Beavers. After the Class 3A, District 6 opener at Mike Pennington Stadium Friday night, it’s not likely any member of DC’s 2017 squad will forget those two digits anytime soon.
Kilgore accounted for five touchdowns—four on the ground and none fewer than 15 yards away from the end zone—as Lakeside spoiled Drew Central’s attempt at history pretty convincingly, 42-24. The Pirates were aiming for their third consecutive win, a feat that hasn’t been accomplished since the school revived its football program in 2008.
More importantly, the loss put DC in the worst possible predicament as 6-3A play began. With the annual “Murderers’ Row” of McGehee, Smackover and Fordyce looming in three of the next weekends, the Pirates are in an early “must-win” situation on the road this weekend against the arch-rival Owls if they hope to have any shot at advancing to the school’s first-ever state playoffs.
Kickoff at McGehee is 7 p.m. Friday.
DC, now 2-2 overall, was the only school in 6-3A to lose at home during the first week of conference action. Elsewhere, preseason favorite Fordyce blasted Genoa Central 48-10, always-tough Junction City had its way with McGehee 64-38 and Smackover gave Fouke its first loss, 40-14,
This Friday, aside from DC’s trip to Desha County, Lakeside hosts Smackover in the only game between 1-0 teams. Other contests will be in the Texarkana area—Fouke entertains Fordyce and Junction City travels to Genoa Central.
“We came out flat,” the second-year coach said, “We could not execute or tackle well. Our game plan was to continue the improvement on offense and tackle (No.) 18 from Lake Village. We did neither of those things in the first half.”
Kilgore proved his worth by scoring on a pair of 40-yard runs in the first 24 minutes, and added a 15-yard touchdown pass with 41 seconds remaining in the second quarter. After the Pirates had pulled within six points in the second half, Kilgore scored on runs of 62 and 29 yards to put the Pirates away.
After four weeks, the Beaver signal caller is ranked in four of the five conference offensive statistical categories listed on maxpreps.com. He leads 6-3A in passing yards with 526, is second in rushing with 560 yards, is tied for third in total touchdowns with seven and ranks fourth in total points with 42. The only offensive category in which Kilgore’s name doesn’t appear is receiving yards—but, if you asked Cox after Friday night’s game, the Lakeside quarterback just might be able to throw and catch the ball himself.
“I was concerned with the quarterback’s ability and he proved that he was good,” the DC coach said of the Beaver junior. “We couldn’t tackle him. He broke numerous tackles Friday night.”
Drew Central, which had tied the game at 8 on a six-yard run by senior Ansin Lattimore late in the opening period before Kilgore took the game over, caught fire after intermission but just couldn’t solve No. 18.
Sophomore Travarus Shead found paydirt from two yards out midway through the third quarter to cut Lakeside’s advantage in half then, after the Pirates recovered a fumble at midfield on the ensuing kickoff, Shead scored again on an 18-yard scamper. When the 10th grader also crossed the goal line on the two-point conversion, DC trailed by only 28-22.
“At the start of the second half through the midpoint of the fourth quarter, we were a different team,” Cox noted. “We came out on fire and played some of the best football I’ve ever been around. Travarus Shead showed a lot of guts late in the game, leading the offense on a big drive.
“At that point we had the momentum and I thought we had a chance to win. Unfortunately, we ran out of gas, it seemed. We had two turnovers late in the game that both led to (Lakeside) touchdowns.”
The first miscue was a fumble on the DC 38-yard line that the Beavers pounced on. It didn’t take Lake Village long to expand its lead; Kilgore popped free and scored on a 62-yard run that made the score 34-22.
While the Pirates were still reeling from that big play, a Lakeside interception led to Kilgore’s fourth rushing touchdown of the night, the 29-yarder with 7:06 remaining to be played. After a successful two-point conversion, the Beavers assumed a 20-point lead.
Drew Central sophomore Justin Ferrell accounted for the final two Pirate points when he stopped a Lake Village runner behind the goal line for a safety on a fourth-and-13 play following yet another DC turnover, a fumble at the Lakeside four.
Beaver senior Jalen Jenkins had gotten the scoring started with a 20-yard run in the first quarter.
Cox said his squad must have short memories, which shouldn’t be any problem considering the opponent. Anytime Drew Central faces McGehee in any sport, the old adage about throwing away the records comes into play.
“McGehee will be tough,” the DC coach said of the 2-2, 0-1 Owls. “Scheme-wise, we match up well. They run a Wing-T offense that we have seen plenty of times before. We have to attack them on defense and execute what we do on offense.”