CANTON – Twenty-one yards and a first down is a good play.
Twenty-one yards and a first down is not a good half.
The Lambert defense held Cherokee to the latter in route to a 28-0 shutout on the road Friday for their first victory of the season.
“We did some good things tonight,” Lambert coach Louis Daniel said. “I think we took a step in the right direction.”
The Longhorns defense did do some good things tonight forcing four three-and-outs and an interception before Cherokee got their only first down of the half at the 4:50 mark of the second quarter.
Things only got marginally better for the Warriors in the second half, and the game ended with Cherokee gaining just 107 yards on offense and five first downs. The deepest Cherokee got into Lambert territory was the 26-yard line during a drive which saw the Warriors pick up three of their five first downs but resulted in a 43-yard missed field goal.
To put the Longhorns defensive performance into perspective, Lambert running back Marcus Chatelain outgained the entire Cherokee offense by himself. Chatelain finished the game with 174 yards, including a 78-yard touchdown run, on 22 carries.
The only thing keeping this game from being even more lopsided was some missed opportunities from the Lambert offense.
The Longhorns started the game with two drives into the red zone that yielded no points — a missed field goal and a turnover on downs. Lambert also went 1-for-5 on short-yardage fourth downs.
“We have to keep working, assess our situation and keep at it,” Daniel said. “There’s no secrets to football, it’s a fundamental game. We had fundamental breakdowns, and when you’re not doing the right things, that’s what happens.”
There weren’t many breakdowns on the defensive side of the ball, however, as the Longhorns also forced three turnovers (all interception). Not to be outdone, the special teams’ unit had a blocked punt return for a touchdown.
It wasn’t all great for Lambert, but winning their first game of the season still feels good to the players.
“We want to feel this way every week,” Chatelain said. “We know we have to work to get to this point every week.
“(This win) gives us motivation.”