On a cold, frosty night at the coast, the Lakewood Leopards kept their football season alive with a nail biter ending in overtime, 41-40. Lakewood’s defense, while not holding the opposition to a shutout, had a stellar night as well.
Lakewood started the scoring off with a 60-yard scamper by Jahdon Smith with 2:10 left in the first quarter. Tyler Hobbs gave the Leopards a 7-0 lead with the PAT kick. East Carteret quickly tied the game at 7 with an 85-yard pass play. With the PAT, the score was even with 1:43 left in the first quarter.
With 37 seconds left in the first quarter, Lakewood upped the score to 13-7 on a 30-yard pass play for Haden Carter to Dylan Ivey to go up 13-7. Hobbs’ PAT attempt went wide leaving the Leopards with a 6-point margin.
The second quarter got off to a bad start for the Leopards when a Carteret punt bounced into a Leopard player giving East Carteret the ball on the Leopard 15-yard line. They converted that to go up 14-13 just under two minutes into the second quarter.
Lakewood got back on top with 7:29 left in the first half when Carter connected with Shemar Tucker on a 15-yard pass play to go up 19-14. Hobbs’ kick was wide again. With 13 ticks left on the clock in the first half, Carter connected with Smith for a 4-yard touchdown. The Leopards went for the two-point conversion with Smith carrying and the score at the half was 27-14, Lakewood.
In the third quarter, both teams jockeyed for position with the defensive units pretty well shutting the other’s offense down. Late in the third, Tucker grabbed a Mariner pass to give the Leopards the ball deep in their own territory. That wound up in a punting situation. Lakewood had a 27-14 lead at the end of the third.
Early in the fourth, the Mariners got their passing game in gear scoring 19 points to tie the game at 33, all, at the end of regulation.
In the overtime, East Carteret had first chance scoring from five yards out on 4th down. The Mariners were assessed three consecutive motion penalties on the PAT attempt, that didn’t pose a problem for their kicker.
Lakewood took over. On first down, Smith took off braking tackles as he bulled his way into the end zone for a 40-39 game. On the PAT, the Mariners’ defense got a bit anxious picking up a penalty that moved the ball half the distance, to the 1.5 yard line. On the PAT, Smith again bulled his way up the middle for the two points and the 41-40 win.
The Leopards rushed for 366 yards, with Smith picking up 285 yards on 40 carries. Jameek Johnson added 73 yards on 11 attempts. Sessoms had eight yards.
Passing, Haden Carter was 4-for-9 for 87 yards.
Ivey had a reception for 18 yards and a touchdown, Tucker had one for 15 yards, Bryce Tanner had one for 50 yards and Smith had one for 14 yards. Smith scored four of the Leopards six touchdowns.
Defensively, Ivey, Luke Brewer and Tristan Holmes had six tackles each; Jaylan Torres and Jaylan Ivey amassed five tackles each; Jawaun Johnson, Andre Rich and Smith had four tackles each; and Tucker had three tackles.
No. 6-seed Lakewood will hit the road again to take on No. 2-seed John A. Holmes in the third round matchup this Friday, Nov. 24, in Edenton. That game is slated for a 7:30 p.m. start.