LONE GROVE — The Lone Grove Longhorns struggled in their attempt to give new head coach Trey Owens his first victory as they fell to the Cache Bulldogs 28-7 Friday night at Longhorn Field.
The Bulldogs dominated along the line of scrimmage in the first half and showed excellent team speed on inside runs and to the perimeter. And when not running the football, they kept Lone Grove off balance with a solid passing game.
Cache rolled up 228 rushing yards on 34 carries and netted 150 yards through the air for 378 offensive yards. The Longhorns managed just 58 rushing yards and 56 passing yards for 114 offensive yards.
The Bulldogs (1-0), preseason No. 10 in Class 4A, wasted no time getting on the board.
They took the opening kick-off and marched 64 yards in seven plays and took a 7-0 lead when J’Air Thomas scored on a 3-yard run around right end. Thomas and Jayden Garcia shared quarterback duties with Thomas getting much of the running yardage and Garcia taking care of passing duties.
“We made some critical errors early in the game that cost us,” Owens said.
“Penalties caused us some problems, and we allowed their people on the edge too much space in which to operate. It was a bunch of little stuff, and against a good team like Cache it turns into bigger issues.”
Cache scored on three consecutive possessions in the second quarter. The Bulldogs turned a pass interception at midfield into a 49-yard touchdown drive early in the frame. Levi Cain scored on a 3-yard scoring run with 7:45 left in the half to cap a 5-play drive to give Cache a 14-0 advantage.
A personal foul penalty on the ensuing kick-off pinned the Longhorns at their own 4-yard line. Lone Grove managed to advance to its 15-yard line where a punt had the Bulldogs set up at the Longhorns 35-yard line.
A perfectly thrown pass from Garcia to Thomas on the first play from scrimmage resulted in a touchdown and a 21-0 Cache lead.
The final Bulldog score came just before halftime.
Cache used just 1:43 of clock time to move 75 yards in seven plays to hammer home another touchdown.
A 29-yard scoring pass from Garcia to Maurice Dowell had the Bulldogs up 28-0 at intermission.
By halftime, Cache had 304 offensive yards and 16 first downs to Lone Grove’s five first downs and 37 offensive yards.
“We tightened up our defense in the second half, and they were not able to get the spacing they did in the first half,” Owens said.
The Lone Grove defense held the Bulldogs to 74 offensive yards and four first downs following the break, but the Longhorns’ offense continued to struggle to move the ball.
The Longhorns (0-1), No. 12 in Class 3A, got their lone touchdown with 10:23 left in the fourth.
Landon Lee picked off a pass by Thomas and returned it down to the Cache 30-yard line.
On fourth and 10 at the Bulldog 12-yard line, quarterback Garrett Lemons hit Lyle Graves on a crossing pattern at the goal line, and Graves took it in for the score.
Marshall Zabonik led the Longhorns in rushing with 57 of Lone Grove’s 58 net yards. Lemons was 6-14-2 for 56 yards and one touchdown.
Thomas paced the Bulldogs with 11 carries for 69 yards. Garcia was 9-17-1 passing for 134 yards and two scores.
The Longhorns travel north this Friday to take on Owens’ alma mater, the Davis Wolves. Davis is ranked No. 2 in class 2A.