Entering Friday night’s matchup, Lakewood was coming off an offensive spectacle from week 1 where they scored 47 points in a runaway win over Pender. This time, however, the Leopards had to rely on their defense to power themselves to a 14-6 victory over the Titans of Heide Trask in Week 2.
Prior to the game, the Titans won the toss, but elected to defer until the second half.
Penalties and turnovers stopped many drives for both teams in the first quarter as it seemed when one team was on the verge of a big play, it was killed by a false start penalty, offside penalty, or a turnover.
This sloppy play spilled over into the second quarter until Trask turned it over on downs and to up the Leopard offense at their own 34-yard line. Lakewood marched the field entered the red zone before cashing it in on a 34-yard pass from quarterback Haden Carter to Shemar Tucker who hauled it in for the games first touchdown. A 2-point conversion try was unsuccessful for the Leopards as they now led 6-0.
The next 4:49 went scoreless as Lakewood owned a 6-0 lead at the half.
Coming out of the half, Trask finally got on the board with a 23-yard pass from Antonio Carr to Nathan Wood. The Titans also went for two, but the Leopards defense held and kept the game tied at 6-all.
Now punting it back and forth, one team was going to have to take an offensive stand.
With 6:23 left in the fourth quarter, Jahdon Smith, ran it into the end zone from five yards out for the go-ahead touchdown. Opting to go for two, Carter threw to Christian Logan for the extra two points and an eight point lead at 14-6.
Thanks to a Leopards defense that proved tough throughout, Trask as unable to answer with the eight points they needed to tie the game.
The stat sheet reflected that the game was ruled by the Lakewood defense. Jaylen Torres had 10 tackles while JaQuan Alexander recorded a fumble recovery and one tackle for a loss. Jalen Durrett and Logan had five and four tackles respectfully, with Durrett also picking up an interception.
The Leopards’ 14 points didn’t come from nowhere, however, as Smith had 23 carries for 92 yards. Smith also had one touchdown and 53 receiving yards off of two catches. Haden Carter threw it six times for 129 yards and Tucker had 104 all-purpose yards as well as one touchdown.
Asked what his defensive unit showed him, Lakewood head coach Barrett Sloan responded, “They showed heart, a lot of heart. Hats off to Trask, they are a great team, but our kids put the chip on their shoulder and went in with that mindset.”
Looking ahead to the Leopards matchup against Lejeune, Sloan concluded, “We hope to continue what we have been doing, while continuing to improve on a weekly basis.”
Lakewood (2-0) will hit the road for its third straight road game on Thursday, for a tangle with the Devil Pups of Lejeune High School. The Devil Pups enter this matchup with an 0-2 record. Game time is scheduled for 7 p.m.
Reach Sports Editor Daron Barefoot at [email protected]