Lonoke put up a solid fight against undefeated Pine Bluff Dollarway, but in the end it wasn’t enough.
Dollarway used 44 first-half points to put Lonoke (5-2, 3-1 4A-2) away for a 52-19 win Friday night.
The Cardinals (7-0, 4-0 ) are now in sole possession of first place in the conference.
For senior quarterback Joshua Liddell, it was a night filled with highlights. On the first play of the game, Liddell took a keeper and went up the right side line for an 80-yard touchdown.
Liddell rushed 11 times for 189 yards and completed 2 of 5 passes for 72 yards and a touchdown.
Liddell found himself again in the end zone after a 38-yard run in which he ran up the right sideline, cut back inside, hurdled over two defenders and cut back in again into the end zone before the end of the first quarter.
Dollarway’s defense had a tough time on Lonoke’s first drive as the Cardinals were called for a sideline penalty and being offsides. The Cardinals’ defense allowed a rushing touchdown from Lonoke quarterback Kody Smith on a 2-yard quarterback dive.
Upon Lonoke’s next offensive drive, Dollarway’s defense was able to penetrate the Jackrabbits’ offensive line, but a late hit call allowed Lonoke to move to the Cardinals’ 26-yard line. Two plays later, Lonoke running back Josh Coleman took a handoff up the middle for a 25-yard touchdown.
After the Jackrabbits’ second touchdown of the night, the Cardinals were able to dominate for the rest of the game off of big plays.
After a 57-yard rushing touchdown from Cardinal junior running back Keyshawn Williams, junior defensive lineman Donald Robinson forced a fumble to give Dollarway the ball back on its own 37. Liddell took advantage of Lonoke’s turnover and scored on a 5-yard keeper.
And even though Liddell only completed two passes, they were a pair of big-play passes. Liddell’s first completion was a 14-yard touchdown strike to wide receiver Henry Murphy and the other was a 32-yard pass to Kabion Ento.
After going up 44-12 at halftime, Ento made his presence known at the cornerback position by intercepting a pass from Smith and returned it 63 yards for a score. Ento’s interception return for a touchdown initiated the AAA sportsmanship mercy rule and sealed the win for Dollarway.
The Cardinal defense allowed another rushing touchdown from Coleman to put the Jackrabbits’ point total to 19 toward the end of regulation.
Lonoke coach Doug Bost said the Cardinals used their size and speed to wear down his team.
“They hurt us by getting outside of us and out-racing everyone we had,” he said. “I felt like we moved the ball pretty well. We had two turnovers on some good drives we had going. We felt like we left some points out there. Defensive-wise, we couldn’t slow them down.”
Smith completed 9 of 15 passes for 83 yards.
Blake Mack caught 7 passes for 76 yards. Juwaun Bryant caught 1 pass.
Coleman led Lonoke with 102 yards rushing on 19 carries. Smith had 88 yards on 18 carries. Mark Odom had 40 yards on 3 carries.
Mack led Lonoke with 5 tackles. Bubba Lewis had 4.
The Jackrabbits host Marianna on Friday. Game time is 7 p.m. at James B. Abraham Stadium.
“We will come back and have a good week of practice,” Bost said. “It’s like we told the kids, our season is not over. We’ve got three tough ball games left to go in this conference. There is a lot of football to be played.”