Lions fall flat at West Georgia

Lamonte Thompson is taken down by Chris Pope in the Oct. 13 home loss against Valdosta State. The Lions’ woes continued at West Georgia, where they suffered a 38-23 loss.

The Lions’ defense failed to contain the University of West Georgia Wolves in Carrolton, Ga., Oct. 18, letting the Wolves get away with the 38-23 win.

Offensively, the Lions completed 226 passing yards but were only able to rush the ball for 132. 

“Overall it seemed like we didn’t play with the emotion that we needed to on defense, and offensively we didn’t run the ball like we’ve been doing,” said head football coach Bobby Wallace. 

The loss at West Georgia will most likely leave the Lions with no chance at a GSC title, though the Lions could still make the Division II playoffs, Wallace said.

“We still mathematically are in the race to make the (Division II) playoffs; that’s the most important thing,” Wallace said. “As far as a conference championship — it’d be very difficult.”

The upcoming Nov. 3 home game against Tarleton State will be an important game in pursuit of a playoff appearance, since it is a D-II game. 

The Texans (3-4) come to UNA with 3,111 total offensive yards on the season and 19 quarterback sacks against their opponents. The team bears a Lone Star Conference record of 3-3. 

Some things that hurt the Lions at West Georgia, Wallace said, were penalties on the defense and the inability to stop the Wolves on third-down conversions. 

In the third quarter, the Lions received two personal foul penalties, putting the Wolves on UNA’s 19 yard-line before the team scored. The second of those penalties occurred on a long third-down conversion (3 -8).

“Both of those personal fouls on that drive were out of frustration,” Wallace said. “Their effort frustrated our players into doing it, which, you can’t do that — can’t have that.”

In the first half, both teams played well, answering each other’s scores one after another. 

The Lions came out first with a touchdown in the first drive of the game before the Wolves took their first drive to the end zone for a game-tying touchdown. 

The second quarter opened with a touchdown from the Lions in the first three minutes, followed by the same from the Wolves. Two field goals by the Lions and one by the Wolves left the score 20-17 in favor of UNA at the half.

The second half would see only one score from the Lions, a field goal in the third quarter. The wolves scored two touchdowns and one field goal in the half, one of which was a 48-yard interception return for a touchdown. 

“The interception hurt; that’s one particular play that we got a lot of mileage out of, but when that receiver’s covered, (Luke Wingo) should have gone to the second read and he didn’t do that,” Wallace said.

Wallace said it was disappointing to see the team make mistakes it hadn’t made yet in the game against the Wolves.

“It didn’t seem like we were ready to play, looking back on it — at the time I thought we were, but looking back at it we didn’t play our best game and West Georgia played an extremely good game,” Wallace said. “They were trying to save their season, which is what we better be doing now.”

Between now and Nov. 3, Wallace said the team will be working on correcting their mistakes overall and moving some players around on defense.  

“We’re trying to find the right combination there at linebacker — since we lost Rod that’s been an issue,” Wallace said. 

The Lions play Tarleton State at home Nov. 3 at 3 p.m. Follow @FlorAlaSports for updates throughout the game.