WOODSTOCK — The final minutes between Lambert and Etowah weren’t short on drama.
With the Longhorns clinging to a seven point lead, the Eagles marched 66 yards to get a 1st-and-10 at the Lambert 14-yard line, before four consecutive incompletions gave the ball back to the Longhorns.
It took Lambert all three downs to get the crucial first down, as quarterback Brock Maxwell appeared to have been stopped a half-yard shy of the first down on third-and-1 with 1:40 to play. The measurement showed that he had actually gained a first down by the nose of the ball, allowing the Longhorns to run off the remainder of the clock and secure a 14-7 win in the season opener.
"It was our first 6A game and we were fortunate to win," Lambert coach Sid Maxwell said. "Both teams played a hard, physical game, and we made the plays we had to make to win."
Special teams play helped give the Longhorns (1-0) the lead early in the second quarter, as Eric Mengler blocked an Etowah (0-1) punt and Devaughn Jones caught it at the Eagles’ 4-yard line.
Two plays later, Brock Maxwell (89 yards rushing, 2 rushing TD, 90 yards passing) dove in from a yard out to give Lambert a 7-0 lead with 9:37 left in the half. Lambert scored its next — and last — points when Maxwell took in a second touchdown from 1-yard out with 1:50 to play in the first half to increase the lead to 14-0.
That scoring run was set up by some trickery, as Chandler Register delivered a halfback pass to a wide open T.J. Russell (3 catches, 163 receiving yards), who went 73 yards down to the Etowah 2-yard line.
Russell had caught an 83-yard pass from Maxwell earlier when the Longhorns were backed up to their own 1-yard line, but they failed to capitalize on that drive.
Etowah’s only score came in the third quarter, when Etowah quarterback Reeves Johnson hit tight end Bryce Coroi for a 30-yard scoring strike to cut the lead to 14-7 with 6:06 left in the frame.
"I think Etowah did a good job of working to take away the run," Maxwell said. "But their working so hard to take the run away gave us an opportunity to hit some big plays in the passing game, and our coaches made some great calls to take advantage."
For Lambert it was a tale of two halves. In the first half, the Longhorns’ offense put up 243 total yards and held Etowah to just 94 total yards.
After halftime, Etowah amassed 150 yards to Lambert’s 80.
"We struggled a bit with the heat and some fatigue in the second half," Maxwell said.
"You know we have a lot of young kids playing for the first time and they struggled a bit with the heat and humidity. We made some mistakes. When you win, though, you get to forget about the mistakes."
Lambert plays its home opener against Roswell at 7:30 p.m. Friday.