North Forrest had a tough opening loss as they welcomed Lumberton to their home turf Friday night.
The Eagles played a hard-fought game and the 21-6 final proved to be a test for the team. Overall, the team learned a lot about its direction going forward this season.
“Everyone was excited about opening up against rival Lumberton for the first game of the year,” said Coach Anthony Dillon.
“It’s very important to open up against a team like that,” Dillon said. “(Lumberton) Coach (Zach) Jones and I have been playing for the past five years. A lot of these guys know each other and talk back and forth on social media and were very excited for the game. It was a great way to open up the season with a rivalry game.”
Overall Dillon was very pleased with the effort.
“The guys didn’t quit on us and the effort we showed facing a tough Lumberton team, we gave them a run for their money,” Dillion said.
Giving up two touchdowns to a fumble recovery and a returned punt were the deciding factors in the loss.
“You take those two plays away and you actually have a ballgame,” he said. “We shot ourselves in the foot a couple of times and you can’t do that against a team like Lumberton.”
The coach said first-game jitters were to be expected, especially with players seeing the field for the first time.
“We told the guys you just have to grow up fast,” Dillion said. “We got back to the drawing board shortly after the game and are trying to correct those mistakes we saw. Hopefully we can correct those things and get this team moving in the right direction.”
For the most part, the Eagles kept the running game as their first priority, spreading the carries among four running backs.
On the defensive side, the Eagles only gave up one touchdown. Dillon was very impressed with his defense shutting out the Panthers in the second half.
“Shutting Lumberton out in the second half is something they have not had happen to them in a long time, so I was very pleased with the way our guys played on the defensive side of the ball,” the coach said. “Even though we lost, I praised the guys and told them to keep their heads up. Once we get back to the game tape and show them what corrections need addressing, things will become more clear to them.
North Forrest hosts Resurrection Friday night for a 7pm kickoff.