Published 12:13 am Saturday, November 30, 2013

Straughn junior quarterback Rollin Kinsaul falls during a play Friday night.

Straughn junior quarterback Rollin Kinsaul falls during a play Friday night.

LEEDS — Straughn’s 21 seniors set the groundwork for the future of the Tigers’ football program Friday night, their head coach Trent Taylor said.

The Tigers traveled to Leeds on a cold night to play in their second straight Class 3A state semifinal game, but fell 19-7 to the Green Wave, ending another successful season.

Unfortunately, SHS couldn’t get anything going in the first half and coupled with a few mistakes, trailed 12-0 at halftime. The Tigers came out on fire in the second half, but couldn’t convert on three opportunities in the red zone for must scores.

Taylor said Leeds defended well against what the team was trying to do on offense.

“They did a great job defensively all night long,” Taylor said. “They really stacked the box. We were dead set that we weren’t going to run the football.”

The Green Wave defense held Straughn to only 190 yards on offense. Leeds put together 307 yards of offense.

Leeds got on with 7:16 left in the first quarter on a 20-yard field goal from kicker Morgan Coston to put the Green Wave ahead 3-0 in the opening quarter.

Straughn didn’t get off to a good start on its first possession of the opening quarter.

Tigers junior quarterback Rollin Kinsaul ran a short distance to the right, and then fumbled the ball to give the Green Wave the ball with 7:48 to go in the first.

Like it has done all season, the Straughn defense stepped up to hold Leeds to a three and out.

On their next possession, the Tigers got good runs from senior running back Devin Scott and Kinsaul, but fell short six plays later on fourth down to turn the ball over on downs.

LHS led 3-0 after the first quarter, and went on to score on its first possession of the second quarter on a 7-yard touchdown rush from Trey Nation. Nation led LHS with 155 yards on 24 carries with two scores.

With Nation’s TD, the Green Wave led 10-0 with 6:13 left in the first half.

A bright spot for the Tigers came in the form of a bobbled snap to punter Jon Spivey, who then went on to boot the ball 64 yards to put the ball at the LHS 7.

Again, the Tigers’ defense put together another stop, which helped give momentum for their offense on the field.

However, SHS found itself again in a fourth-down situation, where Spivey unfortunately got called on an illegal kicking play after kicking the ball out of the end zone. Because the ball rolled out of the end zone, the ruling is that it was a safety for LHS, which gave it its 12-0 lead at the break.

Taylor said simply that the team didn’t play well in the first half.

If Straughn were going to be able to move the ball and score, then it knew it was going to have to throw the ball.

That the Tigers did from the first play in the third quarter.

Kinsaul found receiver Brice Scott for an 18-yard pick up, and then two plays later got Keith Edgar on a 37-yard pass to put the ball at the LHS 8.

Three plays later, the Tigers would get their first touchdown called back when Kinsaul threw to an ineligible receiver, according to the officiating crew.

After stopping the Green Wave on defense again, the Tigers put together a 11-play, 56-yard drive, which ended in a Devin Scott touchdown from 5 yards with 2:15 to go in the third quarter. With the PAT from Austin Worley, the Tigers cut the lead to 12-7.

LHS ran the clock out to finish the third quarter, and the Green Wave band played “Taps” as the American Flag was lowered.

With the ball to start the fourth quarter, LHS drove from the Straughn 36, where Nation capped the 10-play, 73-yard drive with a 1-yard TD rush with 9:57 left in the game. The Green Wave, led 19-7.

SHS drove from its own 28, but another failed attempt in the red zone gave the ball back to LHS with 5:10 to go. Kinsaul threw the ball from the 11 to the back-end of the end zone, where the ball flew straight threw Edgar’s arms.

“I think we played really well in the second half, but we had three opportunities and only converted one of them,” Taylor said. “I just don’t know if we would’ve been in a situation like we would’ve been in. Give them a lot of credit.”

Scott led SHS with 58 yards of rushing on 12 carries. Kinsaul added 35 yards on the ground, and 101 yards in the air.

Taylor said he is extremely proud of all his players.

“Especially the seniors,” the coach said. “The’ve accomplished something that’s never been done at Straughn. They set a great example for those to come after them.

“It hurts right now, but I think in a couple days, they’ll look back and realize just what they’ve accomplished, and be very, very proud of that,” he said. “It’s just the game of football. Sometimes it goes your way, and sometimes it doesn’t. (Friday night), it didn’t for us.”

On the season overall, which the Tigers finished 10-3, Taylor said the players really bought in to what the coaches were coaching them to do.

“I think the biggest thing that this bunch did is that they have a lot of confidence and they believe in their coaches,” he said. “That almost sounds like an ego thing to say, but I think now a days that’s something you don’t see a whole lot. They put a lot of trust in what we asked them to do from a scheme stand point. No matter what it is, they’re going to work their tail off to execute them.

“Again, it was a great year, and you don’t never know when you’ll be back here again,” he said. “To do it two years in a row there were some seniors who were here last year (who contributed and) certainly from a leadership stand point, they did fantastic.”