NEWTON — Four fumbles and a last-minute touchdown proved costly for the West Lincoln Rebels as they fell to the Fred T. Foard Tigers 34-31 on Friday.
Senior fullback Daniel Davila carried the majority of the offensive load for West Lincoln (2-1, 1-0 SPC) in its first loss of the season, with 32 of the team’s 46 carries for 207 yards, two rushing touchdowns and a trick touchdown pass.
Davila took a lateral from quarterback Corey Smith and connected with junior wide receiver Miguel Corella for a 41-yard score in the final minute of the game for the final score margin.
The Tigers scored on their first drive of the game and recovered a West Lincoln fumble on the ensuing kickoff. Foard running back Jalen Thompson beat one West Lincoln defender for a 7-yard touchdown to put the Tigers ahead 13-0.
The Rebels got on the scoreboard in the second quarter on a 33-yard run by Davila on a pitch to the left sideline. Foard responded with a 13-play, 70-yard drive that culminated with a 1-yard touchdown run by sophomore quarterback Jacob Schmidt.
The Rebels had to settle with a 28-yard field goal on their first drive of the second half. The West Lincoln defense stifled a Foard fourth-down conversion attempt on their next drive, and regained possession on the Tiger 41-yard line.
Davila carried the ball five times during the following drive, including a 1-yard touchdown run with 55 seconds left in the third quarter to cut the Tigers’ lead to 20-17.
Sophomore linebacker Mack George recovered a Tiger fumble on Foard’s first drive of the fourth quarter, but the Rebels gave the ball back to the Tigers with a fumble of their own four plays later. Chris Mays took an option pitch from Schmidt 9 yards for a touchdown with 3:38 left to play for a 27-17 Tiger lead.
Senior Clay Alguire gave the Rebels good field position with a 53-yard return on the ensuing kickoff, and finished off the drive with a 10-yard scoring with to bring the score to 27-24. The Rebels attempted an onside kick that was recovered by the Tigers. Senior running back Sam Benfield gave the Tigers a 34-24 lead with a 36-yard scoring run with 2:13 left in the game.
The game paused for several minutes after Benfield’s touchdown run for an injured West Lincoln player. Senior wide receiver/defensive back Dalton Rhoney collapsed on the field and remained motionless for several minutes, and was eventually wheeled off the field on a stretcher, giving a thumbs-up to the crowd as he exited the stadium. West Lincoln athletic director Wayne Navey confirmed that Rhoney was suffering the effects of dehydration during the game, but was doing well on Sunday.