CORINTH — In Lake Dallas’ last two season openers, the Falcons had squandered huge leads and found ways to lose the first game of the season.
After the Falcons had jumped out to a 7-0 lead against Richardson Pearce on Thursday night, the Mustangs seemed poised to keep Lake Dallas’ opening-day losing streak going.
The Mustangs scored 20 consecutive points by midway through the second quarter, stunning the crowd at Falcon Stadium into silence and stealing momentum.
Like a thoroughbred that peaks too early in a race, the Mustangs let their lead slip faster than they had earned it.
In a span of 3:15, Lake Dallas scored 21 straight points and regained the lead for good.
The Falcons used their second-quarter run to get the momentum back and pick up a 31-20 nondistrict victory.
“In the past we’ve been in that spot so many times, we never flinched,” Lake Dallas head coach Michael Young said of playing from behind. “But this is a whole new group. I told them at halftime, regardless of what happened in the game, they learned from past experience — even when they were younger — no matter how bad something looks, keep competing, keep getting after it and things can get better.”
With 7:08 left in the second quarter, Falcons quarterback Marshall Dominy didn’t see a defender lurking on the left side of the field and threw a pass directly to defensive back Aaron Moss, with no Falcons nearby. Moss ran 35 yards to the end zone for a touchdown.
Then, on the ensuing kickoff, the tide shifted in Lake Dallas’ favor.
Tony Green took the kickoff 63 yards to the Pearce 26-yard line. While the Falcons only got a field goal on the possession, it was the first of a series of events to go Lake Dallas’ way in the quarter.
Lake Dallas defensive back Roman Mitchell recovered a fumble. Lake Dallas capitalized and scored a touchdown. Grayson Schantz blocked a punt on Pearce’s next drive, giving Lake Dallas field position on Pearce’s 23-yard line.
During that span, Pearce ran only four plays. When the Mustangs ran the fifth play, Lake Dallas scored 14 points in 35 seconds.
With 11 seconds left in the first half, Dominy found a wide-open C.J. Harris, who took advantage of what looked like a blown defensive assignment and scored a 23-yard touchdown.
Dominy struggled early on but regained his composure. He completed eight of 16 passes for 129 yards, one interception, two passing touchdowns and one rushing touchdown.
“It was pretty nerve-racking — first time starting at quarterback since freshman year,” Dominy said. “I sure did miss it, that’s for sure.”
Dominy took over the starting quarterback role after Dalyn Williams graduated and went to Dartmouth to play baseball and football.
The senior quarterback was aided by his running back and defense. Tony Green ran the ball 33 times for 115 yards and a touchdown. Aside from a 14-play, 98-yard drive Pearce had in the first half, the defense stifled Pearce’s two-quarterback attack of Craig Lair and Rhett Svetgoff.
The quarterbacks combined for 17-of-38 passing for 175 yards.
After two years of blown leads and devastating losses, the Falcons have learned how to hold on to a lead.
“It was good to come back, especially after these last two years of not finishing it. We finished it this year,” Schantz said.
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Lake Dallas 31, Richardson Pearce 20
LD — Tony Green 2 run (Logan Stewart kick), 5:06
P — Kedron Banks 15 run (Jake Olrich kick), 2:04
P — Blake Fletcher 22 pass from Rhett Svetgoff (Olrich kick), 8:02
P — Aaron Moss 35 interception return (kick failed), 7:08
LD — Stewart 25 kick, 3:15
LD — Dominy 1 run (Stewart kick), :46
LD — C.J. Harris 23 pass from Dominy (Stewart kick), :11
LD — Bryce Williams 9 pass from Dominy (Stewart kick), 4:30
Rushing: P — Kedron Banks 12-38, Craig Lair 6-2, Geoffrey Nwarie 2-6, Gjordan Dumas 1-6, Blake Fletcher 1-8, J.R Griffin 3-37. LD — Tony Green 33-115, Marshall Dominy 11-44, Mark Contreras 2-1, C.J. Harris1-(-)2, Team 2-(-4).
Passing: P — Craig Lair 10-24-0-83, Rhett Svetgoff 7-14-0-83. LD — Marshall Dominy 8-16-1-129.
Receiving: P — J.R. Griffin 5-62, Ryan Stanton 3-53, Blake Fletcher 4-53, Jordan Clark1-20, Drew Arrington 1-2, Kedron Banks 2-(-)1, Trey Vinzant 1-4. LD — Bryce Williams 2-34, Tyler Hull1-8, C.J. Harris 2-67, William Tollett 2-11.