August 30, 2009 12:01:00 AM
Adam Minichino - [email protected]
VERNON, Ala. -- Lance Bobbitt, Carson Chiquito, and Marquis Plant are going to try to bring the mohawk back to Lamar County High School.
The seniors didn''t have much luck in the preseason convincing their teammates the hairdo was the way to go.
Things just might change after Friday night.
Plant caught two touchdown passes from Michael Bradford, Bobbitt rushed for another score, and Chiquito played a key role up front to help the Lamar County football team defeat South Lamar 61-20 in the season opener for both teams at George Bell Stadium.
Lamar County built a 35-0 halftime lead and held South Lamar to -28 yards from scrimmage in the first half.
The 61 points are the most scored in a single game in the 25-game history of the rivalry, which dates back to 1986.
The 41-point margin of victory (the Stallions'' conversion of their second score was good) also is the largest in the history of the rivalry.
The Bulldogs'' reserves saw extended playing time in the second half as they helped extend the cushion to 61-0 at the end of three quarters.
The big lead gave Bobbitt, Chiquito, and Plant a chance to watch the standouts of the future and allowed them plenty of time to encourage their teammates to change their hairstyles.
It also gave them a chance to savor the Bulldogs'' second consecutive victory against the Stallions after a five-game losing streak from 2003-07.
"It feels great right now," Chiquito said. "It is my senior year and I wanted to go out with a bang. Hopefully we will do it in the next game and throughout the season."
Chiquito credited former Bulldog Keith Myles for keeping his mohawk closely cropped. He said Myles cut his hair for the first time nearly two weeks ago. He said he shaved his head again at 11:30 p.m. Thursday.
"It feels good. It is football season and you want to go all out with it," Chiquito said of why he has went with a mohawk every year since he was a sophomore. "I have to get it done. I have to wake up Friday with a shaved head ready to go."
With a cool-headed Chiquito helping lead the Bulldogs up front, Bradford used the equally cool-headed lead blocking and running of Bobbitt to spark the offense.
Lamar County coach Ken Adams doesn''t believe the mohawks will catch on with the rest of the team. But he said the hairdos are fine with him because he likes short hair.
Adams likes the Bulldogs'' attention to detail even more than short hair. Bobbitt and Bradford demonstrated the Bulldogs'' technique in the first half as both got down low behind the offensive line and pushed through for a 5-yard touchdown.
Bradford could have given the ball to Bobbitt, but he kept it himself and stayed so low it was difficult to see him.
That play was just one example of how well the Bulldogs can play when they execute.
"These guys have been running this (offense) for three years," Adams said. "Michael gets right (behind Bobbitt) and it makes difficult for them to see. A lot of our offense is built on timing. It is something we work on every day. It is something you have to do, and it is something these kids believe in."
As well as that play worked, the Bulldogs had their share of sloppy moments, losing three of five fumbles in the first half.
Bobbitt, who opted to take his senior pictures with a full head of hair before getting his mohawk, has lost about 10 pounds since the start of offseason conditioning. Adams said Bobbitt is like a pulling guard who also can carry the ball in the speed option.
Bobbitt might be the only running back/linebacker, or pulling guard, with a mohawk. He said he shaved the sides of his head Thursday night but intends to let the top grow until the season ends.
Bobbitt''s hair might get pretty long if the Bulldogs can stay alive deep into the winter. He said the team''s ability to execute at a higher level will determine how long the Bulldogs'' season lasts.
"I think we''re going to go pretty deep in the playoffs," Bobbitt said. "We''re going to come together pretty good. We''re starting to play as a team."
South Lamar''s Josh Harper didn''t offer any excuses in his debut as the school''s football coach.
"Vernon was a bigger, faster, stronger, more experienced team. We knew that coming in" Harper said. "When the lights turned on, some of us shelled us and some of us came out of our shells. We didn''t quit. We will be a playoff team. We''re just not there yet.
Harper said he will take the loss and as far as he is concerned the players are 0-0. He said it won''t be difficult to get them to stay positive despite the loss.
Ken Mitchell epitomized the Stallions'' tenacity in the fourth quarter. The junior running back had touchdown runs of 65 and 85 yards to help South Lamar avoid the shutout.
"I think at halftime we started to take the scoreboard out of our minds, but they still are kids," Harper said. "I know it is rough on them, but I hope we got all of our mistakes out at one time. We''re going to show up to fight and we''re going to get better."
Adam Minichino is the Sports Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.