It wasn’t until a 16-yard touchdown run by Jay Moxey on a sweep to the left with 1:41 left to play. That cemented a 35-20 victory at Cobb Energy/Corky Kell Stadium.
The previous Kell play dampened Lassiter’s hopes of getting the ball back.
Winning by only eight, the Longhorns (2-0) needed to convert a third-and-8 from their own 48. They could have been closer, if not for a 5-yard illegal motion flag.
But despite the penalty, Kell kept the drive alive when quarterback Matthew McGuigan threw to D’Vonte Dennis for a 35-yard gain. Had the Longhorns failed there, Lassiter (1-2) would have had roughly 2 minutes to score and get a 2-point conversion to tie the game.
“Lassiter fought back, like good programs do,” Kell coach Derek Cook said. “We made big plays at the end.”
Moxey was clutch on both sides of the ball. Offensively, he carried the ball 14 times for 70 yards and two touchdowns. Defensively, he had two interceptions.
Kell was certainly in the driver’s seat late in the third quarter when the Longhorns scored on a lateral. McGuigan threw a lateral to receiver Julian Burris, who then threw a 19-yard touchdown pass to Dennis for a 26-10 lead.
Following a bad snap on the extra point, holder Cameron Rosendahl — also the backup quarterback — threw to Evan Carnes for the 2-point conversion.
The accidental 2-point conversion gave Kell an 18-point lead with 4:26 left in the third. That, however, was more than enough time for Lassiter to attempt a comeback, and the Trojans nearly pulled it off.
Lassiter cut the lead to 11 when Corey John scored on a 3-yard run up the middle. After forcing Kell to punt on its next possession, the Trojans got the ball back at midfield and moved it inside the 10 for a chance to score and get within four points. But Kell stopped the Trojans and settled for a 25-yard field goal by Luke Hardin to get within eight.
Lassiter had a chance to tie it with still more than half the fourth quarter to play, but it couldn’t get past the Kell 43 before having to punt. Quarterback Will Anderson, who threw for 192 yards and a touchdown after missing last week’s game with an injury, threw back-to-back incomplete passes on first and second down — the second under pressure from Michael McCain — and he managed to get just 3 yards on third down before the Trojans punted the ball away.
With 5:41 left to play, Kell kept the drive alive on Dennis’ 35-yard catch and a crucial 10-yard run by Taylor Henkle on third-and-3 from the Longhorns’ 36.
Lassiter and Kell both struggled to score touchdowns in the first half and had to settle for field goals. But it was Kell which managed to get ahead of in the second quarter by scoring back-to-back touchdowns on short runs by Moxey and Burris to take 20-3 lead.
Lassiter didn’t get a touchdown until Anderson hit Lane Jackman for a 7-yard catch with 33 seconds, but it was that touchdown that kept the Trojans in the game.
“We didn’t play well,” Lassiter coach Jep Irwin said. “We played better in the second half at times, but we couldn’t convert in the red zone, and we had to settle for field goals instead of touchdowns. I have to do a better job getting us ready to play. This is totally on me.”