By Steven Watkins
For the Forsyth County News
After a winless 2019 campaign and an offseason ravaged by the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s been a while since the Lambert football team had much to celebrate.
With Friday night’s 34-19 home-win over Lassiter, head coach Tommy Watson’s 2-0 Longhorns have plenty to celebrate, and a lot to look forward to.
On defense, Lambert’s starters were close to perfect. Each of Lassiter’s first nine possessions resulted in punts, with their first offensive points coming on a quick, three-play drive in the fourth quarter against the Longhorn backups. The Trojans finished the night with fewer than 200 yards of total offense. More than half of those yards came in the fourth quarter.
On special teams, the Horns were equally dominant. The Trojans attempted a pair of pooch kicks and a single onside kick on the night, all three of which were cleanly recovered by the hosting Horns. Lambert successfully made all four point-after attempts and added a pair of field goals for 36 and 34 yards.
On offense, the Horns mixed feast with famine. Lambert finished the night with 379 total yards — outgaining Lassiter by nearly 200 yards — while committing two turnovers and numerous drive-killing penalties. They fumbled away their opening possession on the third play of the drive — a designed draw for QB Ashton Smith that saw the junior pick up the first down before surrendering the football on a big hit from a Lassiter defender.
Smith also appeared tense early in the game and out of sync with his receivers at times, overthrowing some passes while several well-placed balls resulted in drops. At other times he looked brilliant, twice catching the Trojans' defense napping with a pair of 50-plus-yard touchdown bombs, the first of which a 53-yard throw to sophomore Brandon Jones and the second an 89-yard pass to Kojo Antwi.
For the second consecutive week, sophomore QB James Tyre entered the game for a brief stint and added a score of his own after Smith took a hard hit on a bobbled snap in the fourth quarter. On a third-and-goal, Tyre dropped back, took a hit as he threw but managed to sling a sharp pass to Braden Bamburowski for a 9-yard touchdown.
Ultimately, the Horns finished the night not only notching a second win but doing so in a convincing fashion in all three phases of the game.
“We’re learning how to win,” Watson said. “We’re learning how to win, to be successful, to work at practice and in the weight room. But for us to come out here with all the adversity and the penalties and still score 34 points and score 34 last week, I tell you what, I’m proud of them.”
The penalties, as Watson mentioned, were concerning. The Horns were penalized 11 times for over 100 yards, one of which occurred on a Smith pass to receiver Jack Stewart that would have put them within field goal range with four seconds remaining in the first half.
“We’ve just got to keep changing the culture,” Watson said. “It’s what we said we were going to do back in June, and hopefully by the next few weeks we can start cutting out some of the missed blocks, the missed passes and the penalties — it’s coming. Slowly but surely, man. It’s a process.”
Lambert will host Meadowcreek at 7:30 p.m. Friday.