ANSON— Looking to peak at just the right time last Friday, the Bangs Dragons showed they have a long way to go following a 52-28 loss in their district opener.

Similar to their previous non-district competitions, the Dragons held their own early offensively only for defensive miscues to put them in a hole they could not emerge.

“Anson was a good team, but we did not play to our best potential,” said Bangs running back Ethan Sanchez, who came on late to lead the Dragons in rushing with 77 yards on 12 carries and a touchdown. “It’s not going to be easy. We just have to keep going at it, working harder and trying to get that win.”

The Anson Tigers’ offense seemed unstoppable at times, ripping through the paper-thin Bangs defense for 27-unanswered points to start the game. The Dragons seemed to find their footing in the second quarter after running back Seth Anderson found the end zone on a 54-yard delayed option run, cutting up the middle of the field and leaving in his wake a slew of failed tacklers. That burst did not translate into subsequent possessions in the first half, where the Dragons trailed 27-7 by its conclusion.

“In the first half, I don’t think we played with the intensity we had before district,” Bangs coach Kyle Maxfield said. “That falls on me. We talked about the importance of starting district, when the games start counting, but we did not perform. At times the effort was there. In the second half we came back and answered the call a little bit. We’re going to be alright.”

On the Dragons first possession of the second half, senior quarterback Justin Wilson tossed the first of his two touchdowns on the night after finding Anderson on a screen pass, which Anderson turned up the sideline for a 49-yards. Following Sanchez’s 16-yard run into for a touchdown midway through the fourth, Wilson found Anderson on another touchdown pass, this time from 64 yards. Despite outscoring Anson’s starters 21-19 in the second half, Bangs’ first half deficit prevented any hope of a rally Friday night.

“We thought about what we needed to do more,” Bangs lineman Cael John said. “We talked about it a lot in the locker room and got our minds on the right track. We weren’t going to lay down when we came back out. We put three more touchdowns on the board and stopped a lot more that would have happened.”

With the loss, the Dragons remain winless in district play and will look to change that when they host Grape Creek next Friday for homecoming. John said he can feel the team making subtle improvements and believes trusting in the system will eventually lead to the program’s first victory in more than a year.

“Our biggest philosophy is repping it out. We just rep and rep and rep until we get all of the mess-ups and mental mistakes,” John said. “We get it out and come back ready to play every week. We just don’t want to lay down and we figure the harder we practice in practice, the harder we will play on the field. It’s back to work on Monday.”