For the first time in three games, the Searcy Lions offense did what it was capable of doing.
The Lions scored seven offensive touchdowns in a 50-36 win over the Batesville Pioneers on Thursday night at Lion Stadium. Coming into the game, Searcy’s offense had only scored twice.
“I felt like we missed a couple of opportunities, but our offense played the way I thought we were capable of playing all year,” Clark said after his first win as the Searcy coach. “It’s been frustrating the first two weeks offensively, but I thought those guys on offense, today, played pretty well.”
Searcy finished with 534 yards in total offense. Quarterback Ckyler Tengler completed 14 of 19 passes for 357 yards and five touchdowns. Dede Johnson rushed for 170 yards on 20 carries.
Daniel Perry led Searcy in receiving with 8 catches for 164 yards. Reid Miles had 119 yards on 3 receptions. Cunningham caught 2 passes for 17 yards. Johnson added one catch for 57 yards.
“Hat’s off to [Batesville] Coach Dave King,” Clark said. “I thought he did a good job. I knew we’d get their best shot.”
Searcy led 36-29 late in the third quarter. After a 10-yard punt by Searcy’s Ckyler Tengler, the Pioneers had the ball at their own 37. Dayshaun Brown then ran 23 yards to the Searcy 40. A horse collar tackle penalty was called on Searcy, moving the ball to the Searcy 25. Seven plays later, Batesville’s Jack Lanier scored on a 1-yard run with 27 seconds left in the third quarter. Esler Oedonez kicked the extra point.
Searcy reclaimed the lead at 42-36 on a 3-yard touchdown pass from Tengler to Reid Miles with 10:47 left in the game. The extra point was blocked.
Searcy’s Jace Garcia recovered a fumble on Batesville’s next possession, giving the Lions the ball at the Searcy 39. Three plays later, Tengler threw a 51-yard touchdown pass to Miles with 7:51 left in the game. Tengler then threw to Caleb Cunningham for the two-point conversion.
Batesville tried to mount a comeback, moving the ball from its 31 to the Searcy 34. Searcy’s Zimri Anderson recovered a Batesville fumble at the Searcy 37.
After gaining two first downs on runs of 20 and 16 yards by Dede Johnson, the Lions ran out of the clock in victory formation.
Clark said the win was good for his team even though the players weren’t down after losing to Cabot and Little Rock Christian in the first two weeks of the season.
“It’s always great to win,” he said. “Everybody wants to win. I know tomorrow during film and then Monday during practice … it’s always a little better when you win.”
Batesville took a 7-0 lead on a 3-yard run by Lanier with 8:25 left in the first quarter. The touchdown was set up by an 80-yard interception return by Lanier.
The Lions took an 8-7 lead on their next possession. Johnson scored on an 8-yard run with 7:21 left in the first quarter. Tengler threw to Miles for the two-point conversion.
Batesville reclaimed the lead at 14-8 on a 13-yard pass from Storlie to Jace Jeffrey with 2:45 left in the first quarter.
Searcy took a 15-14 lead on a 57-yard pass from Tengler to Johnson with 1:59 left in the first quarter. Timothy Ulsperger kicked the extra point.
Searcy scored the next touchdown on a 65-yard pass from Tengler to Miles with 7 minutes left in the first half. Searcy led 22-14 at halftime.
The third quarter was full of fireworks as the teams combined to score five touchdowns. Johnson scored on a 37-yard run with 9:46 left in the quarter. Tengler threw a 51-yard touchdown pass to Perry with 6:29 left in the quarter.
Searcy now has the week off before staring 6A-East play Sept. 24 at Sheridan.
Clark said he likes having a “bye” week.
“We have two weeks to prepare for the stretch run,” he said. “We need to have a great week of practice. We’ll go three days. We’ll get three good lifts in and we’ll get three solid days of practice.
“We’re going to get better.”