The Lakewood Leopards bounced back nicely in their conference opener on Friday night. After losing two straight games to 2A opponents, the 1A Leopards downed Spring Creek, 42-8 in a one-sided contest under a steady rain in Salemburg.
Lakewood got on the board first when Carsell Bennett punched in a 2 yard touchdown run. They would later go up 14-0 on another Bennett touchdown run, this time from 15 yards out.
With 6:04 to go in the first half, Quamaine Williams found pay dirt on a long, 57 yard touchdown run. The Leopards entered the halftime break up 21-0.
Lakewood got things going again in the third quarter, when Zach Tanner connected with Nyquan Murphy for a 43 yard touchdown pass. It would soon be 35-0 after Mickie Spell ran it in from 13 yards, just a possession later.
Spring Creek would get on the board on the ensuing kickoff, as they returned it all the way for 6. The 2-point conversion was good, which gave the Gators their final tally of 8 points.
About three minutes later, Akili Underwood of Lakewood went 52 yards down the near sideline for the final Lakewood score.
Statistically, Malik Rogers had 3 tackles and a fumble recovery, William Moore had 2 tackles and an interception, Tristen Hawks and Tristen Holmes each had 5 tackles, Ray Hayes had 6 tackles and a sack for a loss of 15 yards, Ethan Blackwell had 7 tackles, and Travis Henry and Jirah Cooper combined for a sack.
Offensively, Quamaine Williams had a big night. He had 71 rushing yards on 5 rushes, and 2 catches for 49 yards.
Akili Underwood had 2 rushes for 75 yards and Carsell Bennett had 14 carries for 39 yards.
Zach Tanner went 6-10 through the air for 122 yards, and Jordan Melvin had 3 of those catches for 42 yards. Nyquan Murphy had the lone catch for a 43 yard touchdown.
After the game, it was confirmed that Lakewood has lost their star running back, Dillion Kinlock for the season. Kinlock went down last week against Red Springs, and it has been confirmed that he has a torn ACL, per Lakewood.
“Losing Kinlock isn’t going to be easy to overcome,” said Lakewood’s head coach, James Lewis after the game. “I thought we had some guys fill in in that spot tonight and do some good things, but it is going to have to be a group of guys to make up for the loss. I thought field position was big again for us tonight, and we did some good things. It’s a good win and a good way to bounce back for us. We will try to get ready for North Duplin next week.”
Lakewood, now 4-2, and 1-0 in conference play, will travel to North Duplin next week. Game time is set for 7 p.m.