STAR CITY — The Star City Bulldogs held their breath as a 43-yard field goal attempt from Lonoke Jackrabbits kicker Jose Garcia fell short with 1:08 left on the clock.
The miss helped the Bulldogs to a 16-14 victory on Friday night.
Lonoke coach Doug Bost was proud of the way his team played.
“The kids played hard for four quarters,” he said. “They battled. The defense just gave up a field goal in the second half. We just felt like we couldn’t get off the field on third down.”
Bost said the Jackrabbits had forced the Bulldogs into several third-and-long situations during the game but only forced one punt.
“It’s definitely something to work on,” Bost said. “We didn’t have any turnovers. I felt like we moved the ball well. We just got into the red zone twice and didn’t get any points. You’ve got to score when you get down there.”
Garcia’s field goal attempt came up a few yards short. The 43-yard attempt was the result of a bad snap on the play before. Bost said if his team hadn’t lost any yards, the attempt would have been from 37 yards.
“The bad snap made it a 43-yarder,” he said. “In pregame, he nailed three 40-yarders, right in a row. We backed him up to 45 yards and he was about two yards short.
“That’s part of football. Jose gave it a ride.”
Star City led 16-14 when Lonoke took over from its own 20-yard line with five minutes left in the game.
Quarterback Kody Smith led the Jackrabbits down the field and into Bulldog territory. A third down reverse pass was dropped by a wide open Smith from Savontee Rountree and the Jackrabbits opted to try the long field goal. On the kick, the snapper sailed the ball over the holder’s head as the crowd went wild.
However, prior to the snap, Star City had called a timeout to make sure there wouldn’t be a fake, so the Jackrabbits were given another opportunity.
Star City put the first points on the board when Harris scored from four yards out. The Bulldogs added another touchdown late in the second quarter when Brown found wide receiver Bo McBroom down the middle for a 23-yard touchdown pass to put Star City up 13-0.
Lonoke responded on the ensuing kickoff when star receiver Blake Mack returned the ball down to the Star City 32-yard line. A few plays later, Mack took an end-around handoff and scooted in from four yards out to cut the lead to 13-7 with 47 seconds left before halftime. Garcia kicked the extra point.
Lonoke took the lead on an 11-play, 87-yard drive in the third quarter when Smith scored on a two-yard touchdown run to give the Jackrabbits a 14-13 lead. Lonoke had another opportunity to increase its lead on the first play of the fourth quarter.
On fourth down, the Jackrabbits opted to go for the end zone instead of trying a field goal. Star City’s defensive back Austin Smith broke up the pass in the left corner of the end zone to gain some momentum for the Bulldogs.
Star City drove down the field and Eric Estaban kicked the eventual game-winning 28-yard field goal with 5:05 left to play.
Smith led the Jackrabbits with 157 yards rushing on 22 carries. Josh Coleman had 66 yards on nine carries. Smith completed 7 of 12 passes for 107 yards.
Mack caught six passes for 109 yards.
Dylan Elmore led the Jackrabbits with 13 tackles. Cedric Cooney had eight. Dylan Walker had seven. Caleb Bailey added five. Jay Pitts, Dylan Goforth and Trey Bevis had four tackles each.
Lonoke hosts the Beebe Badgers on Friday night at James B. Abraham Stadium. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
The Badgers are coming off a 61-38 loss to Greenbrier in the season opener.
“We know what Beebe is going to do … it’s the same every year,” Bost said. “They will line up with two tight ends and sock you in the mouth. They probably have the biggest offensive line we will see all year. If they get three yards a play, they are happy. You’ve got to match their physicality.”