The Lakewood Leopards pulled out a nail-biter Friday night with a 41-40 overtime win over East Carteret. The Leopard defense did its usual job for a good part of the game.
The Leopards got on the scoreboard first with 2:10 left in the first quarter on a 60-yard run. With the PAT, the Leopards were up 7-0. East Carteret quickly answered, scoring on an 85-yard pass play. The PAT tied the game at 7. With 37 seconds left in the first quarter, Lakewood went up 13-7 over the Mariners, however the PAT failed on a block.
East Carteret went three-and-out, punting the ball away. The ball took a weird bounce off the shoulder of a Lakewood player giving East Carteret the ball on the Leopard 15-yard line. They went up 14-13 on a 15-yard score and the PAT.
Lakewood answered with 7:29 left to go to take a 19-14, however the extra point was wide. The two teams traded punts for a couple of series before Lakewood upped the score with 5 ticks left on the clock in the half. They scored on a 4-yard pass. The Leopards went for two and a successful conversion brought the lead to 27-17 at the half.
The third quarter was defense for both teams. The next score came 5 seconds into the fourth quarter when Lakewood went up 33-14 on a 12-yard run. East Carteret came alive during the final quarter, scoring twice to tie the game at 33 with just over two minutes left. With the win imminent, the PAT was blocked by the Leopards, sending the game to overtime.
The Mariners got the first chance in the overtime period and tacked 7 on the board. Lakewood got their chance and got into the end zone. They went for two and got it for the victory.
“It was exciting,” commented Lakewood coach James Lewis. “We hung in there. They have a good football team. They scored there late and tied it up. The blocked extra point was huge. We came through in the end. They say you always have to go for two on the road.”
No. 6-seed Lakewood will hit the road again to take on No. 2-seed John A. Holmes next Friday, Nov. 24. That game is slated for a 7:30 p.m. start.