Lakewood didn’t blow away the competition Friday night, but played enough solid all-around football as they got their final reps in before the regular season kicks off.
Matching up against county rivals and Clinton High in a series of 10-minutes scrimmages, the Leopards outscored their opponents six touchdowns to three.
Lakewood traveled to Topsail High School earlier in the week to play in their first scrimmage and head coach James Lewis saw a definite improvement from that first scrimmage to Friday’s Pigskin Jamboree.
“I think we looked better then we did Wednesday,” said Lewis after the Jamboree Friday night. “We keep getting a little better, but we’ve still got a long way to go. We played everybody and it’s just a scrimmage, but we saw some good teams.”
Starting off on defense against Clinton, Lakewood allowed one touchdown to the Dark Horses before coming up with a big sack as the first period expired.
Quarterback J.J. Tanner, who threw for over 1,400 yards last season, would come back to lead his team offensively against Hobbton and managed to drive down the field and score just after the 6 minute mark on a quarterback sneak. A fly-route would fall short into the endzone as time expired.
After a defensive series against Midway, that would see a pair of Raider touchdowns, the Lakewood offense would again come out on to the field and this time relied on their running game. Another J.J. Tanner sneak into the endzone resulted in the first touchdown, and with 10 seconds on the clock running back Nikin Henry would break a 20-yard run into the endzone for another score.
The offense, however, would stall its next possession against the Clinton D.
“The Clinton defense was pretty solid,” continued Lewis. “We had trouble moving the ball against them. They put good pressure on our quarterback. They played well.”
Lakewood would wait until the final play before sneaking the ball in for their only touchdown of the period.
But they would bounce back quickly as the Leopard defense came out on the field to face the Hobbton attack and stiffed the Wildcats, allowing no touchdowns and keeping Hobbton from advancing ten yards for the first eight minutes of play.
Hobbton’s offense would ride on this momentum and come out firing. With lightning flickering in the background, Damion Bennett scored on a fake pitch from 15 yards out. D.J. Rich followed this by catching a Tanner pass and fighting his way into the endzone.
Inclement weather would prevent the Leopards from going any farther and cause a premature end the the Jamboree.
Lakewood will open the season next Friday against Franklinton.