The Lakewood Leopards’ stellar season on the football field came to an end at the hands of one of the top 3 teams in the state on Friday night. The Tarboro Vikings scored 37 unanswered points en route to a 37-7 victory over the visiting team.
Tarboro did what they do best all night, and that was pound the ball on the ground. They used all of their backfield weapons to wear down the Lakewood defense, led by a big and strong front line.
Things were looking good for the Leopards for the first twenty seconds of the game. In that time, they scored and were up 7-0 on a beautiful run by Carsell Bennett for an 82 yard score on their first play from scrimmage. With 11:40 to play in the first quarter, Lakewood already had the lead by a touchdown.
However, it didn’t take Tarboro long to tie things up. In what seemed like a methodical drive full on runs between the tackles and sweeps to the outside, they were able to tie things up within the next minute and a half.
After Lakewood’s next drive stalled, the home team scored again to make it 14-7, with 4:22 to play in the opening quarter. They would add another rushing touchdown before the first quarter was over.
With the score at 21-7, the Leopard defense settled in in the second quarter, allowing no more points, and recovered a key fumble late in the half to keep them around a little longer.
Early in the second half, the Vikings reeled off a 72 yard touchdown run that seemed to break the spirit of Lakewood. This made it an even steeper hill to climb, as they fell behind 29-7.
On their next possession, Tarboro would add 8 more points by scoring again and then (for some reason) going for the 2 point conversion.
The Leopard season ended with the 37-7 loss.
“We just got manhandled tonight,” said Lakewood’s head coach James Lewis after the game. “We knew they were good, but we didn’t realize they were that good. But we had a really good season. Whenever one of the top teams in the state knocks you out of the playoffs, you’ve had a good season.”
Lakewood was led offensively by Carsell Bennett, who had 130 yards on 11 carries.
Defensively, Tristan Hawks and Tristen Holmes had 9 tackles, with Holmes recovering the fumble at the end of the second.
Logan Brewer added 8 tackles for the Leopards.
Coach Lewis was right in saying that his team had a good season. Sure the expectations were high entering the year, but when you’re star running back (Dillion Kinlock) gets injured and is out for the season, it’s something that’s hard to overcome. The Lakewood team did what they had to all season, though. They fought hard when their backs were against the wall.
That fight was worth something after all, and that was a share of the Carolina 1A Conference Championship. Considering James Kenan plays in that conference, that is quite a feat.
Lakewood finished the season at 9-4.
Reach Adam Capps at 910-214-9585