MONTGOMERY, Ala. Its the same problem thats plagued the Poets all season. No matter what the score is heading in to half time, Sidney Lanier has struggled all season when the third quarter starts.
Thursday nights 38-6 loss to Central-Phenix City was no exception.
The Poets went in to the break trailing the Red Devils 10-6, but after allowing an opening drive score, and throwing two interceptions in five offensive plays, Lanier found themselves down 31-6 with just over five minutes left in the third.
Like Ive said all year long, just trying to find that mental switch, Lanier coach C.J. Harris said. We come out in the first half give every team we play a great first half and just coming out in the third quarter, its like a five minute stretch where we just cant get ourselves back mentally prepared. We cant believe that were in some of the games that were in
Im still trying to find out what it takes to come out after half time for those first five minutes.
Central opened the second half with nine straight run plays, capping it off with a 9-yard touchdown run. Tristian Buyck then threw an interception on Laniers first play. The Red Devils capitalized by punching in a short touchdown run two plays later. It was déjà vu on the Poets next drive. Buycks pass bounced off his receivers hands and led to another interception. Centrals three-star prospect Traveon Samuel made the Poets pay with a 29 yard touchdown run two plays later.
If we could just get out of the mindset that when something negative happens its not the end of the world, Harris said. OK, something happened, but weve just got to continue to play. Like I said, until we get ourselves mentally there, were going to have to fight a lot of battles.
Lanier outgained Central in the first half and ran for 81 yards, but the Central defense stuffed the ground game, holding the Poets to just 18 yards in the second half.
Buyck finished 9-for-28 passing for 92 yards and the two interceptions. He also ran 19 times for 95 yards and a score. Samuel had eight carries for 78 yards and a touchdown to go with four catches for 44 yards.
The Poets fell to 0-8, 0-6 in Class 6A, Region 3 and mathematically eliminated themselves from being able to match last seasons 3-7 mark. Lanier plays G.W. Carver next Friday.
As long as the kids stay positive and the kids continue coming to work, Harris said. Me and the coaches talk, were not giving up on these seniors; were not giving up on the older guys. Were going to continue to do what we do. The biggest thing is to make sure that we dont have any injuries to the younger guys and stay focused and ready to play.