Lambert never established much offensive rhythm against North Forsyth, but it manufactured enough big plays to remain undefeated.
The Longhorns picked up only one first down through the first 20 minutes, 17 seconds of game time, but gained 33 yards or more on five different plays in a 21-7 victory over North during homecoming on Friday at The Horn.
All three of the Longhorns’ touchdowns came on drives in which a Longhorn gained 37 yards or more on a single play.
Lambert receiver T.J. Russell finished with three receptions for 100 yards, including two receptions that set up two touchdown runs by quarterback Brock Maxwell.
"We just needed a spark, something to get us going and give us some energy," Russell said. "First couple of drives we were flat, just didn’t have anything going, and those catches seemed to help a little bit."
Neither team was able to pick up a first down until the sixth offensive possession of the game, when Maxwell hit Russell for a 50-yard gain down to the Raiders’ 8-yard line.
Maxwell couldn’t field the snap cleanly on the next play, and North recovered the ball at its own 10. Fumbles were a problem throughout the night for Maxwell, who played with a broken wrist.
"We had some miscues offensively," Lambert coach Sid Maxwell said. "Brock just came out of a cast yesterday, he’s got a broken wrist, but he’s played with it for two weeks. We played well at times and got the win, and you can’t complain about that."
The Longhorns (5-0, 2-0 Region 6-AAAAAA) finally got on the scoreboard just before halftime.
Facing second-and-25 from the Lambert 30, Maxwell (3-of-8, 100 yards passing, INT) hit Russell with a 33-yard pass down the left sideline. On the next snap, Maxwell ran the ball up the middle and cut down the left side of the field for a 37-yard touchdown run that put the Longhorns on top 7-0 with 2:47 remaining after Ryan Karjala’s extra point.
Lambert carried that lead into halftime by holding the Raiders (3-2, 0-2) to 62 yards of offense in the first half.
"I think we have a pretty good defense and they have a pretty good defense," North coach Blair Armstrong said. "That pretty much says what was going on in the first half."
The Longhorns found another big play on their second series of the third quarter, as wingback Jake Stanford broke a 46-yard run that moved the ball down to the Raiders’ 20 after a 15-yard personal foul penalty was tacked on.
Two plays later, Maxwell hit Russell for a 17-yard gain down to the goal line before plunging into the end zone on the next snap, putting the Longhorns ahead 14-0 with 5:01 remaining in the third quarter.
"My coaches ... tell me they’ll come to me whenever they need me," Russell said, "and I’m good with that role right now, just helping out my teammates and doing whatever I can."
North finally broke through with an 80-yard touchdown drive early in the fourth quarter.
Raiders quarterback Harris Roberts (7-of-15, 91 yards passing) converted two fourth downs on the series and capped it off with an 11-yard touchdown run that narrowed the score to 14-7 with 9:11 remaining.
North had an opportunity to tie the game after recovering a Maxwell fumble at the Lambert 35, but defensive back Tucker Maxwell broke up a pass at the goal line on second down, and the Longhorns’ defensive line sacked Roberts on third and fourth down.
"To be 5-0, when one phase [of the team] is struggling some, to be able to do that, the other phase has to pick it up," Sid Maxwell said. "The defense was steady all night."
On the ensuing possession, Lambert wingback Jake Vazquez picked up a 50-yard run down to the Raiders’ 15.
Three plays later, Vazquez carried the ball in from two yards out to put the Longhorns on top 21-7.
North got the ball back with under five minutes to play, but Lambert defensive lineman Trey LeBlanc sacked Roberts on third down at the Raiders 11, forcing a punt that allowed the Longhorns’ offense to regain possession and run out the remainder of the clock.
Led by running back Daniel Myers (12 carries, 85 yards rushing), the Longhorns finished with 231 yards on the ground and 331 total offensive yards, while the Raiders tallied 170 yards of offense.
Every team in Region 6-AAAAAA has a bye this Friday before returning to action on Oct. 12.