In cool, windy, rainy conditions on Thursday, the Lakewood Leopards earned their fifth win of the season at the expense of the North Duplin Rebels. Lakewood won by overcoming a 7-0 halftime deficit, scoring 21 unanswered before ultimately winning 21-7.
It took Lakewood until their first drive of the second half before they were able to put points on the board. With 8:46 to go in the third quarter, Lakewood running back, William Moore, found pay dirt on a 2 yard run. The point-after would tie it at 7 apiece.
On their next drive, Carsell Bennett found the end zone on an 8 yard run to give Lakewood a lead that they would never relinquish.
On North Duplin’s ensuing drive, when the Rebels were driving, they faced a do-or-die fourth down situation. Leopard Zach Tanner picked off the North Duplin pass and returned it to around midfield, which set up another Lakewood touchdown just three minutes later, when Tanner threw a perfect pass to Jirah Cooper, who hauled it in for the 21 yard touchdown reception.
This gave Lakewood the final 21-7 margin.
Lakewood’s head coach, James Lewis, was not pleased with the way that his team came out in the first half. “I’m not quite sure what was going on early, other than us just not being ready to play, and North Duplin really being ready to play,” he said.
“We were much better in the second half, I thought, and played with more intensity,” he continued. “We are really banged up, and just need to get healthy. Some guys we know we have lost for the season, but we are hoping to get some back next week for the Rosewood game.”
Lakewood was led by Tanner, who had the 21 yard touchdown pass, and 28 rushing yards to go along with a defensive interception. Carsell Bennett had a nice evening on the ground for LHS, racking up 76 rushing yards on 14 carries. Quamaine Williams had 5 carries for 35 yards for the Leopards.
Defensively, Ethan Blackwell and Tristen Hawks each had monstrous nights with 11 tackles each. Chris Torres had 5 tackles, and Tristen Holmes and Malik Rogers each had 6 tackles. Holmes also had a fumble recovery.
Lakewood is set to play Rosewood next Friday night at Lakewood, for their 2015 Homecoming game. Rosewood is fresh-off an upset of James Kenan, the number one team in the state on Thursday. The game time is set for 7 p.m.
Lakewood is now 5-2 on the season and 2-0 in conference play.