Last year: Kell 35, Lassiter 20
All-time series: Series tied 4-4
Prediction: Kell 35, Lassiter 33
Lassiter will host Kell tonight in the ninth meeting between the two teams, but if the Trojans want to even their record and take advantage of the all-time series, they’ll have to do a better job of putting points on the board.
Lassiter found itself in a shootout early against Hillgrove last week, taking a 21-14 first half lead before the Hawks scored 33 unanswered points to put the game out of reach in the fourth quarter.
The Trojans didn’t have trouble moving the football, as evidenced by their 503 yards of offense and 327 passing yards. What Lassiter failed to do was get the ball in the end zone. It’s a fact not lost on Trojans’ coach Jep Irwin.
“Our offense moved the ball well,” he said. “We had over 500 yards. The problem is we score any points to go with all those yards.
“We executed well, but we got stopped five times in the red zone. It’s really all about finishing drives. We didn’t do that against Hillgrove.”
Lassiter had to throw the ball more late in the contest to get down the field. But overall, the Trojans’ offense is equally as potent on the ground as it is in the air.
“Our offense was balanced early,” Irwin said. “We like our plays and our personnel, but we needed to finish drives. We’re hoping to execute better with that this week.”
Defensively, however, Irwin is looking for much more from his program.
“We had issues with gap control and alignment, and that’s something we’re working to correct,” he said. “Assignment, technique, it all needs to be better. We’re a young defense, but we have to do better to stop a consistent team like Kell.”
Both teams have somehow been able to stop the other the years. According to Kell coach Derek Cook, however, the outcome of these rivalry games have typically come down to the mistakes the teams make.
“Mistakes have been the key in who gets to win,” said Cook, who guided the Longhorns to a 35-20 victory over Lassiter last year after dropping two straight in the series. “We’re two evenly matched teams from a talent perspective. It just comes down to the team that makes the least mistakes typically gets the victory.”
With the schools separated by only 4 miles, victory and bragging rights will be on the minds of both teams’ players.
“I think it’s a big rivalry game,” Cook said. “Kell was spawned partially from Lassiter. This was a big rivalry early on and kept growing when both teams were in the same region. Then, we dropped down a classification and we didn’t play them for two years.
“We’ve renewed the rivalry in the last few years, and I think it’s been good for both programs, both communities and both schools. It’s a healthy rivalry. There isn’t a tremendous amount of love lost between our teams, but there’s a lot of respect.
— By Carlton D. White