ROSWELL – After a disappointing season debut last week, Lambert showed that one game does not define a season as they dominated Roswell in a 24-9 victory Friday on the road in a non-region game.
The Longhorns (1-1, 0-0 Region 6-AAAAAA) came into the game as underdogs. Nevertheless, the team displayed a tenacity and energy that Roswell simply could not match.
The opening kickoff of the game proved that Lambert was more than Roswell’s equal. Jeremy Johnson received the kick and galloped past Roswell would-be tacklers 90 yards, scoring the game’s first touchdown in a matter of 14 seconds.
"Honestly, I just got the ball and started running," Johnson said. "I’ve got to give props to my kick-off team. I told them before we went out there to just put a body on someone and I’ll do the rest. I think it set the tempo for the rest of the game and we all got fired up after that play."
Lambert showcased an incredible defensive performance, forcing five total Roswell turnovers. While both offenses were flustered for a majority of the game, Lambert’s defense was undeniably the most impressive unit on the field.
Due to Lambert’s defensive ingenuity, Roswell had few quality opportunities to affect the game. Roswell quarterback Matt Cory completed 15 of 27 passes for 139 yards but threw three interceptions in the first half.
Trailing 17-9 in the fourth quarter, Roswell tried to put a drive together to tie the game. However, the Longhorn defense proved once again to be too powerful, sacking and striping Cory in the Roswell endzone. Longhorns linebacker Connor McCann recovered the ball in the end zone for the touchdown that sealed the game.
"Overall, team-wise we did very well tonight," Lambert head coach Sid Maxwell said. "Last week, we sort of started retreating. This time, we started with the kickoff [return for a touchdown] and we had momentum going our way. If you have momentum, your team has a better chance for success."
Leading the way for the Lambert offense was sophomore Tucker Maxwell, providing a spark in three different facets of the offense. Maxwell lined up as a quarterback, running back (14 rushes, 84 yards), and wide receiver (two catches, 66 yards, TD).
Maxwell provided a much-needed offensive threat to the Longhorns, helping to engineer the lone Lambert touchdown drive by catching a 45-yard bomb over the middle of the field, then cashing in the drive with a 21-yard touchdown pass to put Lambert up 17-9 in the third quarter.
With Roswell’s passing game going nowhere, the Hornets put an increased focus on running the football. Hornets running back Shane Slade rushed for 109 yards on 15 carries, but Lambert forced three fumbles and recovered two of them.
Lambert showed a defensive dominance it lacked in a 27-10 loss to Etowah last week. Johnson, who also added an interception to his initial kickoff return touchdown, understands the importance of having a cohesive defense.
"We’ve been working hard in practice," Johnson said. "Our defense is like a brotherhood, we always pick each other up … and we’re always there for each other. We know we didn’t play well last week, but we knew that we were going to come out and redeem ourselves this week."