After starting the season with two tough losses on the road, the Smyrna High School football team came home clicking on all cylinders Friday night in a 35-14 win over Laurel.
The Eagles jumped out to an 18-0 lead before Laurel scored a touchdown and two-point conversion late in the second quarter to cut the deficit to 18-8.
But the Eagles marched right down the field with time running out, and Dylan Keller kicked an 18-yard field goal to give Smyrna a 21-8 lead at halftime.
Donte Ritchie got the scoring started for the Eagles with a 63-yard touchdown run in the first quarter, but the extra point kick was blocked.
In the second quarter, Maurice McFolling-Nichols scored Smyrna's second TD on a 25-yard pass from quarterback Brandon Bishop, but the two-point conversion failed.
Bishop connected with Othniel Edmond for another touchdown pass, a 15-yard score, to give the Eagles an 18-0 lead before the Laurel TD and Eagles' field goal ended the half.
In the third quarter, Aaron Wilson kept Smyrna's momentum going by returning the kickoff to Smyrna's 44 yard line. Running back Alajuwon Hunter carried the ball for some big gains in the drive, and McFolling-Nichols caught a pass for another big gain. With the ball on Laurel's 13, Hunter bulled through the line for a 12-yard pick up to the 1.
Then Ritchie punched the ball into the end zone with 6:29 left in the third quarter. Keller's kick was good for a 28-8 lead.
The Bulldogs stayed in the game with a 48-yard touchdown pass on their next drive to make the score 28-14 with 4:21 to go in the third period. Smyrna stopped Laurel's two-point conversion try.
In Smyrna's next drive, Hunter was temporarily shaken up and left the game, but Wilson broke off a 33-yard run to Laurel's 15-yard line. Bishop carried for 10 more in the drive.
After a false start penalty on the Eagles, Wilson scored on an 8-yard run. Keller's extra point kick at the 2:03 mark of the third quarter put the Eagles up 35-14.
Smyrna's defense stopped Laurel's next drive, and forced a punt.
The Eagles' drive carried into the fourth quarter. Hunter returned to the lineup and carried for a key first down on a third-and-five-to-go play.
A holding penalty backed the Eagles up, and then three plays later, Laurel recovered a fumble to take over on Smyrna's 46 yard line with 9:39 left in the game.
The Bulldogs drove to Smyrna's 24, but a false start penalty backed them up to the 29. On fourth-and-six, Smyrna defenders pressured Laurel's quarterback into making a bad pass, and the Eagles took over with 7:42 to play.
Page 2 of 2 - The Eagles' next drive stalled, and after a punt, Laurel took over on its own 44 with 5:38 to play.
The drive ended quickly, though, when Alec Smith recovered a fumble for the Eagles.
Laurel's next drive ended on an interception by Wilson.
After a Smyrna punt, the Bulldogs had one more chance to score, but Smyrna's Jaegar Schmid sacked the quarterback and time ran out.
The Eagles, now 1-2, play at Polytech next Friday, Sept. 27 at 7:30 p.m.