ROSE RIDGE, Va. — Abingdon quarterback Cole Lambert began the football season on crutches.
On Friday night, the senior authored a scrapbook performance.
Lambert completed 19 of 25 passes for 371 yards to guide the Abingdon Falcons to a 42-12 win over the Ridgeview Wolfpack in a Mountain 7 District game.
That’s impressive, considering Lambert was told he would be unable to play at all after breaking his leg during baseball season.
How did Lambert defy the odds? Welcome to rehab.
“I doubled up on everything and went seven days a week for five hours over about a two-month span,” Lambert said. ‘That was not a fun experience.”
By the fourth game of the season, Lambert was able to return to the field, but he still has a slight limp.
“I knew it wasn’t going to be perfect, but it just feels good to be back out here,” Lambert said. “It was awful being on the sidelines. That was a big motivator.”
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So how did Lambert feel about his redemptive experience Friday?
“Amazing,” Lambert said. “My linemen and receivers helped me so much. We’re all on the same page.”
AHS receivers Haynes Carter and Peyton McClanahan were the favorite targets for Lambert, who completed passes to five players.
Abingdon coach Garrett Amburgey followed every chapter of the Lambert comeback.
“I can’t say enough good things about Cole,” Amburgey said. “He has the work ethic, the leadership and the arm.
The Falcons (7-1, 4-0) are 19-2 in the Mountain 7 over the past four years. The other formula to Friday’s win was a dominant line corps, which dominated on both sides of the ball.
“We knew that the line of scrimmage was going to be key, and Abingdon controlled it all night,” Ridgeview coach Todd Tiller said. “Abingdon has one of the bigger lines around, and they made the plays on offense.”
Ridgeview (6-2, 2-2) managed just 60 total yards.
Working from the shotgun formation, Ridgeview freshman quarterback Ryan O’Quinn faced tight coverage from AHS defensive backs and pressure from linemen. He passed for just 35 yards.
“That was the most Ryan had been hurried all season,” Tiller said. “He kind of looked like a freshman tonight.”
With a blend of the pass and run, the Falcons went 70 yards on seven plays to score on their first drive. AHS running back Malique Hounshell provided the icing, bouncing off several hits en route to the seven-yard score up the middle.
The show was just beginning.
The Falcons went up 14-0 at the 11:45 mark of the second quarter with a well-crafted 86-yard drive. The score came on a 28-yard screen pass to speedy Bishop Cook.
After Ridgeview failed to complete a pass on a fake punt, AHS needed just five plays on a 39-yard scoring drive that was capped by a 16-yard Hounshell run.
Ridgeview’s Cannon Hill returned the ensuing the kickoff to the AHS 20-yard line. That set up a three-yard scoring pass to Brandon Beavers in the corner of the end zone on fourth down.
With Lambert in his comfort zone, AHS with a 66-yard scoring drive that featured a 40-yard completion to Carter with 4:08 left in the half.
The Lambert highlight show continued in the final minutes as he engineered another scoring drive that gave the Falcons a 35-6 halftime advantage.
For the half, Lambert completed 14 of 17 passes for 264 yards.
A bright spot for Ridgeview came with seven seconds left in third quarter when Caden Gibson scored on a 30-yard fumble return.
This night belonged to Lambert.
“This is worth all the extra work,” Lambert said.
Abingdon 7 28 7 0-42
Ridgeview 0 6 6 0-12
AHS – Hounshell 7 run (Reid kick)
AHS – Cook 28 yard pass from Lambert (Reid kick)
AHS – Hounshell 16 run (Reid kick)
R – Beavers 3 pass from O’Quinn (kick blocked)
AHS – Lambert 1 run (Reid kick)
AHS – Lambert 1 run (Reid kick)
AHS – Carter 62 pass from Lambert (Reid kick)
R – Gibson 30 fumble return (pass failed)
First Downs: AHS 20, R 7 Rushes-Yards: AHS 88, R 25; Passing Yards: AHS 383, R 35; Comp.-Att.-Int: AHS 20-28-1, R 7-21-1; Fumbles-Lost: AHS 2-1, R 2-0; Penalties-Yards: AHS 6-60, R 4-30; Punts-Average: AHS 2-24, R 5-36
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