Sep. 17—LEBANON — The Tigers have been looking for balance in their offense all season long.
They found it on Friday night. Lebanon got big plays offensively and defensively, and cruised to a win 63-27 win over Frankfort.
"Both phases of the offense really found their stride tonight," Lebanon head coach Jeff Smock said. "It was our best full game together, run and pass, and hopefully we can build on that next week. Defensively we played pretty well too, it was just a couple of spots where we had breakdowns."
After stopping Frankfort on a fourth down on the opening possession, the Tigers need just four plays to go 50 yards, scoring on a 1-yard run by Carson Toole.
After a three-and-out, the lead quickly double, with Kaden Lark returning a punt 75 yards for a touchdown to make it 14-0.
"We didn't set the tone last year against these guys, and we were a little sleepy early," Smock said. "We talked about that all week. We wanted to be full gas from the get go. We did a great job of that. We had a great week of practice and carried that over into the game."
Lebanon made it 21-0 on their third drive, getting a 9-yard touchdown pass from Landon Fouts to Jackson Folden.
Frankfort cut the deficit to 21-6, but Toole added a 5-yard touchdown run with 10:12 left in the half to make it 28-6, and then a 22-yard run with 4:32 left in the half to make it 35-6.
The Hot Dogs made it 35-14, but Fouts connected with Lark on a 14-yard pass with four seconds left in the half to make it 42-14.
Despite the lead, Smock said a lot of the focus at halftime was playing cleaner football.
"It was a little sloppy in the first half," Smock said. "It's one of those things where you are up big, but you are talking more about the mistakes more than the successes."
The Tigers bounced back in the second half, with Toole getting his fourth touchdown of the game on an 8-yard run in the fourth quarter.
Toole finished the game with nine carries for 82 yards and the four scores. Brendan Shockley added 111 yards on eight carries.
"Carson has done a great job, and then we get Brendan back this week too," Smock said. "It forced our hand the last couple of weeks to get Carson in there, but I think it solidified that 1-2 punch for us. Carson gives us a little more downhill running, but is just as fast and can make guys miss in space. Brendan has a little more wiggle to him, and is maybe a little bit better in space. But we saw tonight what we hoped to have all year."
Fouts finished the game 11 of 17 for 192 yards and three scores, adding another one to Folden in the second half.
Stevie McClury added the Tigers final touchdown.
Lebanon hosts Tri-West next week for homecoming.
After the Bruins topped Danville this Friday, it presents the Tigers a golden opportunity to get themselves back in the conference title race.
"It's going to be a heck of a football game and a heck of an opportunity," Smock said. "We felt like we gave one away against Danville, and this is our next opportunity. Tri-West handled their business tonight, and now we feel like we have a chance to get back in the race we felt like we should be in. It's going to be a great atmosphere, and I hope our guys buy into that and use that."
Will Willems is the Sports Editor of the Lebanon Reporter. Follow him on Twitter @Will_Willems.