As they did their previous two games, the Lassiter Trojans’ offense put up plenty of points. The only difference this time is the other team — the Kell Longhorns — punched back. In the end though, the Trojans did just enough to escape with a 38-35 win on Friday night at The Frank.
The Trojans (3-0 out of Class AAAAAAA) scored 24 points in the third quarter to seize the lead and then hung on for dear life as they and Kell traded leads five times in the second half. Kell trailed 38-28 with 4:30 remaining and faced fourth-and-29 on the Lassiter 40 when Longhorns quarterback Evan Conley connected with Josiah Futral on a long touchdown pass to bring the score to its final margin. The Longhorns defense forced a three-and-out on the Trojans’ next possession, but Conley was intercepted by Derrik Allen near midfield with 43 seconds left to end Kell’s final drive.
The Trojans are averaging 41.6 points a game thus far after beating Johns Creek 45-21 and Pope 42-6. On Friday, senior quarterback Bradley Riopelle led the Trojans with three touchdowns — two passing and one rushing — and 222 passing yards.
“It was a back-and-forth game,” Riopelle said. “We made a lot of plays, they made a lot of plays. Shout out to Kell and (Longhorns first-year coach Brett) Sloan, and I’m really proud of our team for coming back.”
It was another close loss for the Longhorns (0-2), ranked No. 5 in AAAAA, who opened the season with a 28-27 overtime loss to AAAAAA’s top-ranked Tucker on Aug. 19 in the Kell Classic. The loss also wasted a tremendous individual effort from Futral, the Longhorns’ senior workhorse who scored all five of Kell’s touchdowns (four rushing, one receiving) and ran for 247 yards on just 16 carries.
“He’s a great back,” Trojans coach Jper Irwin said. “I really hope that he’s graduating because he’s hard to handle. He was hitting the holes so quick we couldn’t really adjust and they had a big offensive line. That will be a challenge for us all year, but in the passing game I thought we contained them pretty well.”
Kell opened the game with a 15-play, 80-yard drive that ended with a Futral 3-yard run that put the Longhorns up 7-0 with 6:56 remaining in the first. Lassiter answered on the first play of the second quarter when Allen — a two-way player — caught a 6-yard touchdown pass from Riopelle to tie the game.
Kell would immediately respond with a 67-yard touchdown run from Futral on the next play from scrimmage and take a 15-7 lead after converting a 2-point conversion on Conley’s run. With 4:01 remaining in the half, Riopelle found Chase Branch in the end zone on a 16-yard pass play to bring the score to 15-14, where it would remain through halftime.
Lassiter opened the second half with a 12-play drive that ended with Ethan Laudato’s 27-yard field goal, giving the Trojans a 17-14 lead. Three plays into Kell’s next possession, Futral scored on a 7-yard run, which was set up by Dre Houston runs of 65 and 8 yards. That put Kell ahead 21-17 after a failed 2-point conversion attempt.
The Trojans reclaimed the lead their next possession on Myles Williams’ 4-yard touchdown run, which came from a Statue-of-Liberty handoff from Riopelle and gave Lassiter a 24-21 lead with 4:23 remaining in the third.
Once again, Futral immediately responded with a long touchdown run on the next play from scrimmage, this one for 80 yards to put the Longhorns up 28-24. Lassiter reclaimed a 31-28 lead with 5 seconds left in the third when, on fourth-and-three from Kell’s 4, Riopelle bobbled the snap, recovered and ran for a touchdown.
Lassiter forced a three-and-out and scored for the last time on a 7-yard run from Williams to go up 38-28. It was the fifth consecutive Trojans possession that ended in a score.
Williams led the Trojans with 63 rushing yards on 18 carries and Branch had 60 receiving yards on six catches.
Conley threw for 98 yards on 10-of-16 passing and Houston had 88 rushing yards on 10 carries.
Kell 7 8 13 7 - 35
Lassiter 0 7 24 7 38
K - Josiah Futral 3 run (Logan Flesher kick)
L- Derrik Allen 15 pass from Bradley Riopelle (Ethan Laudato kick)
K - Futral 67 run (Evan Conley run)
L - Chase Branch 16 pass from Riopelle (Laudato kick)
L - Laudato 27 FG
K - Futral 7 run (pass failed)
L - Myles Williams 4 run (Laudato kick)
K - Futral 80 run (Flesher kick)
L - Riopelle 4 run (Laudato kick)
L - Williams 7 run (Laudato kick)
K - Futral 40 pass from Conley (Flesher kick)