It was an exciting season opener at Lakewood as the high-scoring Leopards managed to run away with a 49-28 win against Union on Friday.
The two teams were just getting their momentum going, with 5:15 left in the first half, when the game was delayed about 1 hour for sharp lightening in the area. Both teams had scored already and Union was leading at the time.
The Spartans had pinned the Leopards on the 1 yard line with a punt, but on the second play, Lakewood’s Haywood Mack broke free and raced 94 yards for the first Leopard touchdown of the season season. The extra point went wide left, making the score going into the second quarter 6-0.
A series of miscues from the Leopards helped Union take the lead before the break.
With about 7 minutes on the second quarter clock, the Leopards fumbled a punt return and the Spartans took over on Lakewood’s 25 yard line. The Leopards had them stopped on fourth down twice, but flags on the defense moved the Spartans to 3rd and 4 and they bulldozed to a first down.
On the very next play, Dezmond Faison shot into the endzone from about 12 yards out. The point after was good, moving Union in the lead, 6-7, when the lightening storm moved in and stopped the game for about 60 minutes.
Once the game resumed, both teams went right back at it and the Leopards scored 15 more points bofore the end of the 2nd quarter to make the score 21-7.
Union came back in the 3rd and scored 21 points, including an 80 yard kickoff return by Faison and an extra point kick by Chris Rodriguiz.
With 16 seconds left in the third, Leopard quarterback J.J. Tanner threw a 26 yard pass to Seth Herwy for TD. Tanner then ran in for the 2-point conversion. In all, the Leopards also scored 21 points in the third quarter. This brought the score to 42-28 going into the fourth.
The Leopards would make one more touch down run before the end of the game. With about 2 minutes left in the fourth, Shyheim Rich broke free and raced into the endzone from 48 yards out. Faircloth hit the extra point to make the final score 49-28.
Leading rusher for the Spartans was Dezmond Faison with 21 for 206 yards.
Spartan Ryan Hall attempted 13 passes, with 4 completions and 2 interceptions for a total of 34 yards. On the receiving end, Shyquan Brunson caught 2 for 3 yards; Tim Smith, 1 for 21 yards; and Dustin Alphin, 1 for 10 yards.
For the Leoaprds, Mack carried the ball 13 times for 221 yards; Rich, 10-103; Sam Koser, 4-25; and J.J. Tanner, 3-7.
In passing, Tanner made 9 attempts for 7 completions and 1 interception for a total of 133 yards.
Jabriel Cooper caught 2 passes for 48 yards; Austin Tanner, 2-40; Mack 1-15; Herwy, 1-26; and Koser, 1-4.
For the Leopard defense, Trace Faircloth had 7 tackes, 1 pass interception and 1 sack; Cooper had 3 tackles with 1 pass interception; Stephen King, 5 tackles and 1 sack; Cody Bennett, 3 tackles, 1 sack; and Ray Hayes, 2 tackles, 1 sack, and 1 blocked extra point.