LOMETA — After 20 minutes, the question was not if Knox City would mercy-rule the Lometa Hornets, but when. 

The Hornets fell behind after Knox City scored the first of its eight touchdowns just 52 seconds into the game’s opening quarter and never let off the pedal in a 64-16 win over Lometa on Friday night that ended with more than six minutes remaining.

“We had a rough night, but it’s nothing we can’t fix,” said first-year Lometa head coach Jim Simpson. “We just played a really good football team, one of the best in the state, but it’s tough to tell a kid who just lost that there is something to be learned.”

Lometa failed to the secure the opening onsides attempt, which gave the Greyhounds a short field. Three plays later, Knox City senior Heath Wealth scored from 30 yards out to put Knox City up 6-0.

It didn’t get any better for the Hornets.

On its first offensive play from scrimmage, Lometa senior quarterback Eric Nichols took the shotgun snap and rolled to his right looking for an open receiver. But he was hit from behind and stripped of the ball. Knox City (5-1) recovered the loose ball at the Lometa 13-yard line.

Tylnne Eaton scored from 2 yards out to make the score 14-0 with just less than 2 minutes off the game clock. The Greyhounds scored again with three minutes left in the first quarter.

“We fell behind 20 points and had to change our strategy,” Simpson said. “We are a power-running offense and had to start throwing more to catch up.

“Looking back, I think we should have stayed with our strategy — it may have been the better option.”

The Hornets (4-2) pass game struggled all night outside of a long pass connection from R.J. Haggard to senior captain Shane Stone. The 58-yard strike cut the lead to 38-16 with 90 seconds left in the first half.

Haggard led the Hornets with 115 yards on 16 carries and a touchdown.

“He is our fastest player and a great athlete,” Simpson said. “He fights for every inch and refuses to go down. He is a tough kid.”

Lometa’s first score came on the heels of a David Towerton interception at the Greyhounds 17-yard line. The pick set up Haggard’s rushing score from 11 yards out to make the score 30-7.

Lometa opens District 9, Div. I six-man play next Friday at Rochelle.

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