CORINTH — If Lake Dallas was going to turn its season around after three straight losses, it needed to take care of business in Friday night’s game against Wichita Falls.
The Falcons (4-4, 1-4 District 5-4A) instead lacked any offensive firepower — they were outgained 313-149 — and were penalized nine times for 105 yards in a crushing 21-7 loss.
The loss snaps an 11-year playoff streak for Lake Dallas while putting Wichita Falls (5-3, 4-1 district) in the postseason for the first time since 2007.
“We were horrible offensively, and the penalties were inexcusable,” Lake Dallas coach Michael Young said. “We have two games left, so I told them we’re either going to be 6-4, 5-5 or 4-6 and it all depends on how we go to work. If we do what we need to, we can still have a winning season. It’s not what we wanted; it’s terribly disappointing. But it’s something we need to shoot for, play for and get done.”
Lake Dallas came into the night trailing fourth place Trophy Club Nelson by one game. But Nelson — which already has the head-to-head advantage over the Falcons — won its game against Fort Worth Brewer on Friday night to secure no less than a fourth-place finish.
Only the top four teams in district advance to the postseason.
Prior to its skid, Lake Dallas was 4-0, its best start since 2009. But the Falcons have since lost several key players to injury — notably wide receiver and Iowa commit Josh Jackson — and have now been outscored 184-80 in district. This includes a 45-14 loss to Wichita Falls Rider on Oct. 11 and last week’s 66-3 debacle at Guyer.
Friday night’s loss hurt more, considering a possible playoff spot was on the line.
The woes started early when Lake Dallas couldn’t cash in on a 24-yard field-goal attempt to open the second quarter.
A score would have cut the Falcons’ defict to 7-3. The Coyotes made them pay by taking the ensuing drive 80 yards in 12 plays for a 14-0 lead. Quarterback Eric Butler capped that drive with a 10-yard pass to Mikal Penn with 6:49 left in the half.
Butler finished the night 13-of-17 for 95 yards and one touchdown. He also rushed for two more scores. His second rushing touchdown came off the heels of a huge facemask penalty against Lake Dallas and gave Wichita Falls a 21-0 lead with 6:44 left in the third quarter.
The Coyotes were methodical throughout, rushing for 218 yards on 50 carries.
Despite all the penalties and miscues, Lake Dallas still had its chances. With 4:08 left in the third, the Coyotes muffed a punt to give the ball back to the Falcons deep in Wichita Falls territory.
But quarterback Dagan Haehn threw a costly interception in the end zone with Lake Dallas at the Wichita Falls’ 11-yard line.
The only bright spot for Lake Dallas came with 9:10 left in regulation, when Andrew Craig blocked a 24-yard field-goal attempt and raced 83 yards untouched for a score.
Wichita Falls 21, Lake Dallas 7
WF — Eric Butler 4 run (Chance McWhorter kick)
WF — Mikal Penn 10 pass from Eric Butler (Chance McWhorter kick)
WF — Eric Butler 9 run (Chance McWhorter kick)
LD — Andrew Craig 83 blocked FG return (Nick Krygsman kick)
Rushing — LD: Dagan Haehn 14-17, Brandon Simpson 6-14, Courtenay Holder 4-8, Keegan Brewer 1-1, WF: Robert Williams 24-125, O.J. Clark 3-26, Neil Esteves 2-23, Mikal Penn 2-14, Dae’on Weaver 3-13, Eric Butler 11-11, Quentin Sims 1-4, Jacob Blackwell 3-2, TEAM STAT 1-0.
Passing — LD: Dagan Haehn 12-24-1-109, WF: Eric Butler 13-17-0-95.
Receiving — LD: Keegan Brewer 5-39, Garrett Shackelford 1-26, Brandon Simpson 3-24, Josiah Tauaefa 1-14, C.J. Harris 2-6, WF: O.J. Clark 6-38, Mikal Penn 4-31, Adam Stowe 1-13, Chase Key 1-10, Robert Williams 1-3.