The win marked the highest point total by the offense this season, as well as the first shutout of the season for the defense. The Lions (2-1) also became only the second team to hold the Gladiators (5-3) below 21 points this season.
Henderson Ware, a sophomore defensive lineman, said the shutout was a by-product of the long hours put in during the week.
“We just go out there and practice. We get after it every day and it shows when you come out here on the field,” Henderson said. “We’re starting to gel as a unit, but we have to capitalize on their mistakes and limit our mental errors. We left some plays on the field that we shouldn’t have.”
Sophomore quarterback Loranzo Hammonds accounted for four touchdowns, passing for three scores with no interceptions. He also started the scoring onslaught with a 43-yard touchdown scamper on the game’s opening drive.
“On our three-receiver side they were letting the third receiver run in the middle of the field freely, so we took advantage of that,” Hammonds said. “I think we can build on this season. For us to come out and win games like this, it helps our team gain confidence for when we start next season.”
Hammonds said the game proves that he has made strides to grow as a player even with the short season.
“I knew that I needed to improve from my performance in the first game,” Hammonds said. “I made sure that I limited my mistakes and got guys the ball in space so that they could make plays for us.”
Head coach Greg Ruffin said even with the victory he still has teaching points to help his team grow. He said he will address how the team scored 26 points in the first half, but only managed 13 in the second.
“At times we looked pretty good, but we had a few instances where our offense played down in the second half. It didn’t look like we wanted to close the game out,” Ruffin said. “Defensively we played an outstanding game, getting a shutout. I wanted the kids to be elated for their accomplishment.”
Ruffin said composure will be the key if the Lions hope to establish a culture of winning for the future.
“Sometimes you have to see the execution when you are up and you have to learn how to keep pressing until the end of the game.” he said. “We come out here to win so that’s what I expect. We are going to take a business-like approach as we continue to build this program.”
The Lions will play their final game of the season against Jireh Prep next Saturday. Kickoff will be at Laney Stadium at 2 p.m.