High School Football

Leander falls after slow second half

Lions allow 24 unanswered points in loss to Pflugerville

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Rashad Carter ran for a first down late in the first half for Leander Thursday night. He had two incompletions on the same drive. 

It was the last time he’ll see the field for some time. 

The senior quarterback had a solid first half, helping the Lions get out to a first half lead. But they allowed 24 unanswered points in the second half and lost to Pflugerville 30-13 at Bible Stadium to fall to 0-2 for the second straight season. 

“I think he tore a tendon in one of his fingers,” Leander head coach Tim Smith said. “I think he’s going to be out for a while. He’s got to keep it straight so he can’t play another position so we’ve going to get creative. Will Loofe is pretty good and the guys will rally around him.”

Carter finished 6 of 8 for 47 yards passing and with 40 yards on four carries before he left after the final drive of the first half. Loofe, a sophomore, went 1 of 5 for six yards in relief and rushed for 14 yards and didn’t complete a pass in the second half. 

Junior running back Addison Larue carried the ball 19 times for 117 yards and senior Brennen Hansend had seven touches for 31 yards. Senior wide receiver Dalton Flowers caught four passes for 40 yards. 

“Rashad keeps us in a play a lot because he’s so athletic,” Smith said. “Will is a good athlete, but he’s just 15. He’s still learning the offense and he’s going to get a lot better and he’s going to get No. 1 reps this week.” 

Pflugerville recovered a pooch kick to open the game, but couldn’t capitalize on the good field position and botched a field goal on the first drive of the game. 

Leander picked up three first downs on its second drive of the games and got down to the 2-yard line, but the Lions stalled deep in Pflugerville territory and Eli Gehman kicked a 21-yard field goal to open the scoring. 

The Panthers responded on the next drive, going eight plays and finishing off the 65-yard drive with a perfect back shoulder fade from quarterback Damon Tamez to Casey Washington for the touchdown. They failed to convert a two-point conversion. 

Leander’s offense continued to move the ball in the second quarter, but the defense was dominant. Alex Hensley stripped the ball from the Pflugerville running back and scored from less than 10 yards out to give the Lions a 10-3 lead at the break.

It was all Pflugerville in the second half as the Panthers scored on three of their first four drives. On the first two Pflugerville touchdowns of the half, Leander was called for pass interference. Both times, the flag came from the referee on the other side of the field. 

The Lions, meanwhile, went three-and-out on their first five drives in the second half and didn’t move the chains until their final drive, when Gehman kicked a 19-yard field goal with less than one minute left. 

“The defense played great, we just put them out there too long,” Smith said. “They played too many plays and they got tired. We had a couple bad calls in the secondary. Two pass interferences that led to touchdowns. You take that away and it’s a different game.”

The Lions stay in the area for Week 3, facing off against Westwood at Kelly Reeves Athletic Complex on Thursday night before taking on Stony Point the following week in their final non-district matchup. 

“The positive is that we can come together and face some adversity,” Smith said. “We’ve got to compete and get better. If it was easy, everybody would do it. This is going to be hard, but the guys will come together and we’ll compete against Westwood.”

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