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Jason Smith (football)

Long Reach football holds on to beat Atholton in season opener

Long Reach football holds on to beat Atholton in season opener

Long Reach football coach Jamie Willis believes in his newcomers, so much so that he expects to compete for a second-ever regional title despite losing 28 seniors from last year’s 3A East championship squad.

And on Saturday night, this young Lightning team flashed it potential. Junior quarterback Eric Benesch controlled the offense and limited mistakes, freshman running back Julius Saunders shouldered the rushing load and the defense limited Atholton enough to hold on for a 26-20 season-opening victory.

“We always preach that we have to be able to run the ball, and we were able to run the ball a little better in the second half than we were last night,” coach Jamie Willis...

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