A Bittersweet Loss for Lonoke Football

A tough loss for the Rabbits against Ashdown losing 14-21 in the first round of the playoffs.


Senior players lined up preparing for the game.

Alexis Rudder

In the first round of the playoffs, the Lonoke Jackrabbits fell short against the Ashdown Panthers. The game was hosted at James B. Abraham Stadium on Friday, November 11th, and for some of those boys, it was the last time to ever play on that field. Head football coach, Chris Norton said he thought the team had a great plan going into the game, getting ahead by 14 points by halftime. After the halftime break, he says a couple of injuries got them in a bind and they couldn’t get going on the offensive side. “We managed to hide as much as we could for as long as we could offensively, but a really good team is going to find and expose weaknesses and Ashdown did that. Credit to them,” Norton states.

Norton said that Jaxson Ingle has been an outstanding player for them. He describes him as a “team guy”, the type of guy you can win with, and someone with a great attitude at all times. “He puts the needs of the team first and that is a commodity in athletics today,” Norton states. Jaxson had two interceptions during Friday’s game. Ingle said that Coach Burrows had a really good game plan that they worked on all week together, and he put him in a good position to succeed. “I’ll take the attitude and drive that the seniors poured into me and use that and influence the younger guys coming up in the same way,” Ingle adds that he will miss all of the senior boys, but he knows they’re all going to do big things in the next chapter of their lives. Another player that Coach Norton pointed out from Friday’s game is Jonathon Lewis. “Jonathon worked his butt off to get better, was our most consistent offensive lineman, and was a huge help defensive front for us,” Norton adds that he was a steady performer all year and that the team could always count on his effort and execution to be really good. Marquez Jackson Jr., Bradon Allen, and Latrell Burnett also played really well Friday night. Latrell said he was blessed to be able to be a part of this team for all of the years that he could. “I was trying not to cry when walking off of the field, and reminding the younger guys to not take anything for granted.” He adds that he will miss his brothers, and cherish the memories that he’s made within this program.

Coach Norton said overall, it was a tough year for the Rabbits. They lost 5 games by a combined 20 points to teams with a record of 44-8. Norton says they had a hard time finding and staying with any rhythm, which is always concerning for them. “Our kids played hard and gave us a chance, we just couldn’t keep covering up our struggles and they got exposed which is what happens in the postseason,” Norton added. Even though the team will never be the same without the 12 seniors who are leaving, they are focusing and putting together a great offseason plan with a focus on developing mental toughness, continuing to improve their strength and speed, and developing a level of leadership within the locker room that is critical if you plan to make a run.

Norton also wanted to thank the coaching staff for Lonoke Football. Bryan Eagle, Larry Burrows, Xavier Flowers, Ben Morris, Brian McDermott, Ben Miller, Jeremy Brown, Marquez Jackson, and Chandler Astin. “These guys poured into our kids, worked crazy hours, and did everything they could to will this program to a playoff victory.” Lonoke is lucky to have coaches of this caliber and men of their character coaching their kids. Go Jackrabbits!