Tim Smith is trying to put the puzzle together.
In each of Leander’s four non-district games, the Lions have shown flashes of brilliance, but they haven’t yet been able to string together a full game. They played their fourth straight Thursday night game, falling 49-14 to Stony Point at Kelly Reeves Athletic Complex.
“They don’t know how good they can be yet,” Leander head coach Tim Smith said. “We had one turnover where our sophomore quarterback went deep when he should’ve just taken the hit. It’s going to fall into place and the kids played fierce tonight. We’re still a young team.”
Leander had a hard time moving the ball on the ground, totaling just 23 net rushing yards in the game. Addison LaRue led the way with 22 yards on seven carries. The passing game was a little better, with Dalton Flowers catching three passes for 75 yards and a score and La’Tavaius Brown adding 47 yards and a touchdown.
Sophomore quarterback Will Loofe finished the game 13-of-25 for 175 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. He was starting his second game since junior quarterback Rashad Carter injured his hand in Week 2 against Pflugerville.
Dual-threat Stony Point quarterback Donovan Rybacheck ran for 42 yards and three touchdowns and threw for another 53 yards and a score. Senior running back Tyler Cleveland added 71 yards and two touchdowns on the ground.
“We came out and beat a team that was a well-coached team and one that played until the very end,” Stony Point head coach Craig Chessher said. “It feels good to come out and win and now we’ve got to put it all behind us and focus on district play.”
The Tigers had their first two wins of the season forfeited after the UIL found out they had used an ineligible player. The decision won’t affect their playoff hopes, however, as the vacated win weren’t in district.
Chessher chose not to comment on the situation Thursday night.
Stony Point scored on its first possession of the game, capping off a 10-play, 70-yard drive with a three-yard score by Rybacheck. Leander answered back quickly on the next drive when Brown slipped past the Tigers’ secondary and Loofe hit him for the 35-yard score.
But the Lions went three-and-out four times the rest of the half, and the Tigers scored on three of their next six drives to take a 28-7 lead into the break.
Stony Point began the second half with another long drive, the one 75-yards, and Rybacheck scored for the third time in the game with a one-yard run. The Lions again answered and Loofe and Flowers connected on a 12-yard score six plays later.
Rybacheck threw his first touchdown of the game early in the fourth quarter and the Tigers added another score with just over seven minutes remaining.
“They played hard for the entire game and they hadn’t done that in the past,” Smith said. "We’ve seen them play physical, but not for four quarters. We put that together with some execution and limiting the penalties and we’ll be fine.”
Stony Point opens up the district season next Friday night at 7 p.m. against Round Rock at Dragon Stadium. Leander has next week off and begins 25-6A play at 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 6 against Vista Ridge at Gupton Stadium.
“Our focus is taking care of the lines,” Smith said. “Rashad has got to keep getting treatment. We have a bye week coming up to get healthy and we’ll get a couple kids back over the break and we should get better.”