By ANTHONY STEVENS
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
LEBANON, Va. —
Honaker ran onto Tommy Bryant Stadium at Harry Stuart Field with the cheerleaders holding a sign that said "Hustle, Hit & Never Quit".
That pretty much sums up the performance of the Tigers. Honaker has won three consecutive games over their rivals for the first time in school history after a 36-7 win in the third annual Russell County Medical Center Coal Bowl.
"The big boys on our offensive line did a heck of a job," Honaker coach Doug Hubbard said.
"Austin Smith did a great job of hitting the holes. Our offensive line just took over in the second half and Lebanon had a hard time stopping us."
After using a running back by committee last season, Smith was the feature back in the Tiger offense. Smith churned out 199 of the Tigers 318 yards on the ground and scored the first two touchdowns for Honaker.
"The entire offense played great, we were just clicking tonight," Smith said. "Jacob Dye, Branson Horton, Jordan Phillips, Peyton Stevens and Chandler Miller just controlled things up front so I could get those yards. They just did an amazing job."
After Lebanon missed a field goal their opening possession, Honaker was driving downfield before they lost a fumble. But on the Pioneers first play, they fumbled and it was recovered by the Tigers Casey Dye. It took only three plays for Honaker to drive 39 yards with Smith scoring from 3-yards out up the middle.
The teams traded punts and then Will Stamper set the Pioneers up with good field position with a 26-yard punt return to the Honaker 39. Six plays later Matt Hurd raced around the right end for a 2-yard TD run.
"We knew it would be a good game, that Lebanon would be tough to beat," remarked Smith. "We just had to keep on playing and never quit.
"We just want to keep on working from week-to-week and get better with every single game."
The Tigers took the lead before halftime with a 80 yard, 12 play drive that took almost six minutes off the clock. Again, Smith did the honors with a 1-yard plunge.
Honaker then broke it open in the second half. They received a break when Lebanon's snap for a punt went out of the end zone for a safety.
It took the Tigers six minutes and 13 seconds to move 87 yards for a score. Dye rolled out to his right and found Randy Horton open in the end zone on a 4th-and-goal with a 3-yard scoring strike.
“It was planned, it was a back side drag and Casey (Dye) got me the ball," Horton said. "Casey is a good quarterback, he has the ability to get out and create some things."
Shey Bunn added another TD witha 6-yard rush. Horton then finished the scoring, returning an interception 33 yards for a score.
Lebanon rushed for 210 yards, but they were hampered by three turnovers and several costly penalties.
“Things are going to be tough for us until we learn to play smarter," Lebanon coach Phil Henley said. "We get drives going-personal foul, we get a drive going-we fumble, we just kept shooting ourselves in the foot. We just have to play smarter."
Honaker has an unusual bye week next Friday. Lebanon will travel to Grundy.
Honaker.............................7 7 8 14 — 36
Lebanon...........................0 7 0 0 — 7
HON—Smith 3 run (Phillips kick)
LEB--Hurd 2 run (Owens kick)
HON--Smith 1 run (Phillips kick)
HON--Safety, snap out of end zone
HON--Horton 3 pass from Dye (run failed)
HON--Bunn 6 run (Phillips kick)
HON--Horton 33 interception return (Phillips kick)
First Downs: HON 19, LEB 10; Rushes-Yards: HON 51-318, LEB 33-210; Passing Yards: HON 58, LEB 30; Comp-Att-Int: HON 4-8-0, LEB 3-12-2; Fumbles-Lost: HON 1-1, LEB 1-1; Penalties-Yards: HON 5-40, LEB 6-55; Punts-Average: HON 3-30.7, LEB 1-41.