DACULA -- Hebron Christian Academy has taken its share of lumps to start its 2011 season and it took another tough one Friday night. The Lions struggled offensively and allowed a late score to fall to Lakeview Academy 10-7 in a defensive showdown.
"They got to get to the next level." Hebron coach Sal Battaglia said of his team. "They've learned how to prepare, they've learned how to compete, now they have to learn how to win."
Hebron (0-5) came out flat in the opening quarter, struggling to move the ball on offense.
A Hebron fumble gave Lakeview (1-3) great field position at the Hebron 12-yard line. Lakeview converted the opportunity as kicker Tyler Kimball converted a field goal attempt from 22 yards out.
Hebron failed to move the ball in the opening half, gaining just three yards of offense in the first quarter and 30 yards of offense for the entire half.
Lakeview's offense saw its own struggles as it failed to add onto its lead in the second quarter.
Hebron got an opportunity to light up the scoreboard in the second quarter after a fumble recovery in Lakeview territory put it in great field position. However, Hebron was unable to convert a long field goal attempt by Harrison Dunahoo in the final minutes of the first half.
Neither offense was able to get anything going in the third quarter as both teams struggled to maintain any momentum on the offensive end.
With the game slipping away, Hebron took to the air and found success. Lew Stephens hit receiver Tyler Matthews for a 39-yard reception after Matthews sidestepped several Lakeview defenders. The reception led to the go-ahead score as Stephens found Matthews, who caught five balls for 111 yards, in the corner of the end zone, three plays later, to put Hebron ahead 7-3.
" I thought that once we got the lead that we were ready, but we've got to learn to get there." Battaglia said.
Lakeview got there instead as quarterback Ted Reynolds led his team down the field and scored the winning touchdown on an option play that saw him start out right and weave his way across the field and into the left corner of the end zone.
The Hebron defense held Lakeview for most of the game, but it gave up big plays to Reynolds, including a 28-yard run and a crucial 32-yard completion on a receiver option pass on the winning drive, Battaglia understands that it is part of the growing pains for his young squad.
"I think the defense did a really good job, every once in a while we would miss an assignment and there goes their quarterback running downfield," he said.