LEXINGTON — The Bulldogs are back in the playoffs.
Three years removed from its last trip to the postseason, Lexington locked up its first playoff berth since 2009 with a dominating 60-22 victory Thursday over Tishomingo.
With the win, Lexington (6-2, 4-1) will likely finish second in District 2A-4 in coach Jeff Hall’s first season, though the Bulldogs can guarantee that with a win over Konawa next week.
It was a complete victory Thursday. Despite a injury and penalty-riddled first half, the Bulldogs took control of the game early.
But it didn’t look like it would go that way on the first possession of the game. Tishomingo quarterback Allan Plummer completed his first five passes of the game and the Indians gained four first downs as they marched the ball down to the red zone. It looked like they were primed to score and take the lead when Plummer lofted a pass into the end zone for an open DeVante Lawson. But the pass hung in the air just a moment too long, and Jake Blanchard crossed the end zone to leap over Lawson and intercept the ball.
A handful of plays later, and Blanchard was again leaping over the Indians, this time to haul in a 22-yard pass from Colton Langford and put Lexington on top 7-0.
And from there, the rout was on. Blanchard finished with three touchdown catches, the last one coming on a 79-yard screen play that saw Blanchard outrun the Tishomingo defense. Langford finished with four touchdowns and nearly 200 passing yards.
“The line was great tonight,” Langford said after the game. “They made some really good blocks for us.”
The win means Lexington will host a playoff game for the second time in school history, a feat Hall attributed to his team.
“Feel good about this,” he told the Bulldogs after the game. “Our goals are starting to be realized.”
Hall said the team has completely bought in to a system of hard work and perseverance, made evident by the fact that the team controls how much conditioning they do in practice.
“They run themselves more than we ever would,” Hall said. “They’ve done everything we’ve asked them to do. The seniors have put in the work this year to leave a legacy.”
It’s a legacy that hasn’t yet fully formed. The Bulldogs close the regular season with Konawa next week and will host a playoff game next month. And, once the Bulldogs make it there, they have high hopes for the postseason.
“We’ve got a good thing going right now,” Langford said. “It’s been a great season and everyone’s worked hard to get here. Now we have to stay humble and work hard and practice and take our chance at that gold ball.”
Corbin HoslerFollow me @Chosler88chosler@normantranscript.com