CHICKAMAUGA, Ga. — The disciplinarian in Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe football coach Todd Windham wanted to scream at his players after watching them commit 18 penalties and turn the ball over three times.
The teacher in him, however, noticed the relentless effort that helped produce a 28-0 opening-game win at Gordon Lee on Thursday.
The Warriors made up for the multiple miscues by holding the Trojans to 97 total yards. The defense, featuring several two-way players, consistently wreaked havoc in the Gordon Lee backfield and produced nine negative-yardage plays. Led by linebackers Trey Silmon and Nate Long, LFO even held the Trojans out of the backfield after two botched-punt attempts set them up deep in Warriors territory.
"Any time you see a zero on the other side of the board you've done a great job, and a couple of times we had problems on punts and had to make goal-line stands and we did," Windham said. "That says something about the character of the guys playing on that side of the ball and not just their physical talent."
The LFO offense produced some early highlights, including touchdown drives on the first two possessions. Ahead 6-0 midway through the opening period, quarterback Silmon hit Jackson Wallin on a short slant and the speedy receiver split two defenders and went untouched into the end zone.
Wallin struck again moments later when he took a third-and-long draw play 29 yards for a touchdown and a 19-0 lead, still in the first quarter. Though the offense bogged down from that point, it had showed its quarterback enough.
"This new offense is crazy," said Silmon, praising new coordinator Houston White. "We run so many different things and so many different ways that it's crazy to scheme against. Our offensive line was great tonight. They're some unit. We hate the mental errors, but our physicality made up for it, I think."
Senior running back Pooh Harden, held in check most of the game, broke free for a 71-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter to finish with a game-high 110 yards on 11 carries. The two teams combined for 33 penalties totaling 272 yards.
Lindsey Young is a sports writer at the Chattanooga Times Free Press who started work at the Chattanooga News-Free Press 24 years ago. He covers the Northwest Georgia prep beat and NASCAR. Lindsey’s hometown is Ringgold, Ga., and he graduated from Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe High School. He received an associate’s degree from Dalton Junior College (now Dalton State) and a bachelor’s degree in communications from UTC. He has won several writing awards, including two Tennessee Sports ...