Monday, September 27, 2021

Hot Springs Savage Heat slam Big Sandy

Valley Press | September 8, 2021 12:00 AM

This game, a 33-19 home win over always tough Big Sandy, a perennial six-man football contender like Hot Springs, was one most players for both teams no doubt had marked on their calendars.

Both have been regular playoff participants in recent years, including last year when they were supposed to meet but didn’t.

So when the visiting Pioneers came to town it’s understandable there would be some nervous jitters that can cause mistakes at any level of football.

That happened fairly early for the Pioneers, who fell behind early by the smallest possible football margin when they fumbled the ball out of the end zone early in the first quarter giving Hot Springs a quick 2-0 lead.

The Heat also got the ball back as is mandated as a reward beyond two points for getting such a defensive score. In those situations, the team that was assessed two points must kick the ball back to the team which got the two points.

Hot Springs took advantage of just such a situation a short time later when Savage Heat senior quarterback Jack McAllister found his favorite target, fellow senior wide receiver Kyle Lawson, open for what would become a 34-yard touchdown pass.

The ensuing points after touchdown attempt failed, but the Savage Heat had an 8-0 lead, which held up through the rest of the opening quarter.

Big Sandy, however, came right back in the first part of the second quarter and had a chance to tie the score after Pioneers quarterback Braydon Cline hooked up with wide receiver Cooper Taylor on a 39-yard touchdown pass that could have tied the score.

The PAT was no good, preserving Hot Springs slim lead at 8-6.

Midway through the second quarter, the Savage Heat would strike again, this time on another Lawson touchdown run, with the galloping senior scoring from 25 yards out. Again the PAT failed, but the Heat increased their lead to 14-6.

On the ensuing kickoff, Pioneer Lane Dammitiney found a seam in the Hot Springs special teams defense and sprinted 75 yards for a kickoff return TD.

However, the attempted points after kick was no good, allowing the Savage Heat to hold onto a precarious 14-12 lead at halftime.

The only scoring in the third quarter came when the McAllister to Lawson connection was once again good for six points.

Lawson’s third touchdown of the game came on a 15-yard pass from McAllister and boosted the Hot Springs lead to 20-12 heading into the final, what would be wild, quarter of the game.

The Heat struck first in the game’s final minutes, the first being a long 51-yard catch-and-run touchdown pass hauled in by Lawson from McAllister. That score pumped the Savage Heat lead to 26-12.

Midway through the final quarter, Hot Springs struck again, this time on a short 1-yard touchdown plunge by Lawson following a lengthy Savage Heat drive. For the first time in the game by either team, the PAT was good, giving Hot Springs a 33-12 lead with time rapidly running out on the Pioneers.

The visitors did manage to score a final touchdown and added an extra point before the game ended but it was too little, too late.

The win boosted Hot Springs to 2-0 in the early going of the 2021 season. They return to action this Friday when they host North Star at 7 p.m.