After holding opponents scoreless on the way to four straight wins to open the season, Lakewood found themselves in a shootout at North Lenoir Friday night that ended in a heartbreaking 41-40 loss when the Leopards scored late and decided to go for two points and the win, falling short.
Lakewood started out with an impressive 14-0 lead. In the second quarter they scored just once, but missed a PAT, while the North Lenoir Hawks scored twice to narrow the gap to 20-14. It was a scoring feast in the third quarter as the teams traded scores in the third.
Lakewood struck first on a run by Jahdon Smith and increased their lead to 28-14 after a two-point conversion was good. The Hawks struck right back, running back the ensuing kickoff to make it 28-20 after missing the PAT. The Leopards scored again after another Smith rush and the missed PAT brought the lead to 34-20. The scoring was not finished in the third quarter, as the Hawks squeezed in another TD in the final minute to bring the score to 34-28 after the converted two-point play.
North Lenoir scored two unanswered TDs in the fourth and wrestled the lead from Lakewood. The game stood at 41-34, the Hawks’ way.
But Lakewood was not out of it. The Leopards scored in the final minute of the fourth and, faced with a 41-40 score, Coach James Lewis and his unbeaten Lakewood team opted to go for the win. The two-point play was unsuccessful.
“We knew they were going to score on us — it was bound to happen eventually,” Lewis explained. “Gave up some special teams plays I wish we hadn’t, but it is what it is. We’re just going to keep doing what we’re doing, try to do a little better each time. I got a good group of boys, we’ll see how we do next week.”
Lakewood will face off against West Harnett in a home game next Friday.
Reach Sports Editor Michael Hardison at email@example.com. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter @SampsonInd.