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Football: Lambert skids to loss against Lanier
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Lambert's Nathan Smith and Miller Jones combine on a tackle Friday, Sept. 15, 2017, against Lanier. /// Photo by Kevin O'Brien

It was a battle of Longhorns on Friday night, and Lambert came up on the short end in a sloppy 15-6 loss to Lanier.

Neither team was able to get anything going offensively, but Lanier (2-2) won the turnover battle 3-1, which made all the difference. Lambert (1-3) limited Lanier to only one score off of those three turnovers, but that was all they needed.

“We had some fundamental breakdowns early on, and they capitalized on both of them right away,” Lambert head coach Louis Daniel said. “After that, we settled down and we played a pretty good defensive game.”

Lanier scored touchdowns on two of their first three possessions of the game, and that was all the offense did the entire game. Lanier’s Zach Calzada went 13-for-27 for 186 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. His favorite target, Mekal Fuller, had six catches for 81 yards and a touchdown.

Lambert managed just 93 total yards in the first half, and 57 yards in the second half, a total of 150 yards for the game. They were even gifted the ball on the 9-yard line after Lanier snapped it over their punter’s head for a 31-yard loss in the second quarter, but the Lanier defense forced them to settle for a field goal.

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Lambert's Steven Majors intercepts a Lanier pass Friday, Sept. 15, 2017.

“It’s nothing we haven’t seen before,” Lambert’s Marcus Chattelain said of Lanier’s defense. “It’s just one missed play, one player does the wrong thing, and the whole play falls apart. It happens.”

The two teams combined for 23 penalties for 225 yards. Lanier alone committed 14 penalties for 150 yards, which is the same amount of total offense that Lambert gained. Lanier committed eight 15-yard penalties in the game, and all seven of their second half penalties went for 15 yards.

“It was sloppy on both sides, for Lanier and for us,” Daniel said. “[The referees] do a good job. I like that crew. Was it their fault? No. I’m not gonna blame the officials, no sir.”

Bryce Christensen was one of the bright spots for Lambert. He hit each of his field goals from 43 and 27 yards. Late in the fourth quarter, they actually brought him out for a 55-yard attempt, but a delay of game penalty forced them to reconsider.

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Lambert’s Anthony Shumake sacks Lanier quarterback Zach Calzada on Friday in their 15-6 loss at home. /// Photo by Kevin O'Brien

Despite their struggles offensively, Lambert still had a chance to win the game late. With 1:20 remaining in the game, they got the ball on their own 8-yard line, down seven. On the second play of the drive, Lambert’s Bobby Gabriel was forced out of the pocket and pressured into an intentional grounding call. And since the penalty took place in the end zone, it resulted in a safety, effectively ending the game.

This loss drops Lambert to 1-3 on the season. They’ll have one more game at Wheeler (2-2) next week before jumping into region play, and Daniel wants to see how his team responds.

“Adversity, man. We've got to get better,” Daniel said. “We've got to get better. I don’t think we had the wrong mindset coming in, I think we just played a pretty good opponent and we struggled.”