Two rain-soaked touchdowns late in the second quarter was the difference Friday for the Lake Ridge Eagles on the road against Waxahachie at Stuart B. Lumpkins Stadium.
The Indians scored first and even took a one-touchdown lead early in the second quarter before the Eagles reeled off four consecutive scores for the eventual 35-21 victory behind 509 yards of total offense.
Lake Ridge improved to 4-1 on the season and 3-0 in District 7-6A, while the Indians are now 1-5 on the year and remain winless through three district contests. The Eagles have also now won six of the seven all-time contests against the Indians.
After the game, Waxahachie head football coach Todd Alexander said the overall performance of the Indians was a positive culmination of lessons learned from their first two district losses against DeSoto and Cedar Hill.
"I thought our kids came in mentally prepared and our defense played very well. They gave up a few big plays, especially at the end of the first half but we regrouped. Our defensive coordinator made some good adjustments, and they came out and played really well in the second half."
Both teams turned the football over on downs to start the ballgame. Waxahachie do-it-all defensive back Josh Sterns then intercepted Lake Ridge quarterback Chandler Rogers (14-20, 179 yards) on the third play of the Eagles second drive to give the Indians offense the ball just six yards from pay dirt. The interception was the first of two for Indians defense on the night and the first of three Lake Ridge turnovers.
Campbell Sullivan, who split time with DJ Hollywood under center but mostly lined up as a receiver, carried the ensuing snap for a six-yard touchdown to put the Indians on the board, 7-0, with 6:21 to play in the opening quarter.
After both teams threw an interception, Lake Ridge answered when Dewone Jackson (18-152) carried the football for 13 yards on the first play of the drive to the Indians 4-yard line and then scored on the next snap with just under 30 seconds to play in the first quarter.
The Indians then put together their most impressive drive of the night — 10 plays that covered 93 yards and capped by a 35-yard touchdown pass from DJ Hollywood (11-21, 140 yards) to Sterns (4-61) — to take a 14-7 lead with 7:47 to play in the first half.
Unfortunately for the Tribe, the lead was short-lived, as Rogers took the first snap on the next Lake Ridge drive for a 75-yard touchdown on a quarterback draw.
The rain began to fall in sheets just after the clock ran under seven minutes to play in the second quarter with the game tied at 14. It turned into a drizzle about five minutes of game time and one 28-yard Lake Ridge touchdown pass from Rogers to Keylan Johnson later.
The Waxahachie offense went three-and-out on the ensuing possession, giving the Eagles another chance to score before the half. Lake Ridge took over on its own 47-yard line with 2:10 to play in the second quarter.
Lake Ridge did, in fact, add to its lead when Xavier Caldwell caught a contested pass along the back of the end zone for a 28-14 lead with 50 ticks left on the second-quarter clock. The 13-yard touchdown pass was the third consecutive completion of 10 yards or more for Rogers on the drive. It also put Rogers at 143 yards through the air on 9-of-13 passing to go with his nine carries for 117 yards rushing for the half.
Hollywood led the Indians offense into the halftime locker room with 105 yards on 8-of-13 through the air.
"What killed us in the first half was costly penalties,” said Alexander, whose Indians racked up 10 penalties for 83 yards on the night. “In the second quarter, we started getting penalty-plagued it seemed like, and they were able to get two scores right before the half pretty quick. That kind of busted out momentum a little bit but we came out the second half, and the kids played like they are capable of and have been and that is what we will continue to build on. We are going to continue to play hard and play until the final horn and keep getting better each week."
Neither marching band performed at halftime, as both exited the field for the much-dryer school busses when the drizzle reverted back to its previous downpour form and carried into the second half.
With both teams plenty waterlogged by the midway point of the third quarter, the same 28-14 score they ended the second quarter remained intact as the clock dipped under one minute to play in the frame.
Lake Ridge, though, was deep in Waxahachie territory after Rodgers picked up a fourth-and-four and ran inside the Indians 10-yard line. Dewone Jackson scored on the next snap from 8 yards out to run the Lake Ridge lead to 35-14 with 26 seconds remaining on the third-quarter clock.
The Waxahachie defense held Lake Ridge out of the end zone and off of the scoreboard for the remainder of the ballgame, while the offense added a final touchdown. After 13 plays and 62 yards, Hollywood found Sullivan in the corner of the end zone for an 18-yard score to cut the Eagles lead to 35-21.
Waxahachie returns to action Friday on the road against the (1-5, 0-3) Mansfield Tigers, while Lake Ridge will travel to (5-1, 2-1) Cedar Hill, who was upset by Mansfield Summit on Friday night, 7-3.
Both games kickoff at 7:30 p.m.