The Lakewood Leopard football team had hopes of traveling to James Kenan on Friday night, and leaving with a win, meaning they would control their own destiny in the Carolina 1A Conference.
In the end, James Kenan’s high-powered offense and tough defensive line was too much for Lakewood, as the Tigers won the game, 35-6.
However, this still means that if the Leopards win out, they can finish no worse than a tie for first in the conference, which would be big in playoff seedings.
James Kenan scored their first touchdown early in the second quarter when Ken Avent punched it in from 3 yards out. They added another with 6:24 to play in the first half, giving them an early 14-0 cushion.
Lakewood struck back on their next possession, as Zach Tanner threw a nice pass to Nyquan Murphy for a touchdown. The point-after attempt was blocked.
The Tigers built their lead just before halftime on a play that seemed to take the wind out of the Leopard sails a little bit. On a trick play, James Kenan scored once more, and took the 21-6 lead into halftime.
James Kenan scored two more times before things were finally official. The depth of the Tigers, as well as their playmaking ability, were just too much for Lakewood to deal with on Friday night.
“We just didn’t play well tonight, but I think they had something to do with that,” said Lakewood’s head coach, James Lewis after the game. “We have a needed week off next week, so we’ll use that to try and get better.”
Lakewood was led offensively by Carsell Bennett, who had 8 carries for 24 yards. Keshan Bailey had 6 for 17 and Jordan Melvin had a carry for 8.
Zach Tanner went 6-12 on the night with 80 yards and a touchdown. Spencer Ray had 3 catches for 27 yards and Johnnie Owens had one for 37 yards. Murphy caught the touchdown pass and had another reception as well for a total of 35 receiving yards.
Defensively, Ethan Blackwell, Ray Hayes, James Sinclair, and Luke Brewer each had 6 tackles. Hayes added a sack. Tristen Hawks had 5.5 tackles and a fumble recovery, and Malik Rogers had a fumble recovery for the Leopards.
Lakewood is now 6-3 on the year and 3-1 in conference. Their bye week comes at a good time, as they can recharge their batteries for two very winnable games to close the season, as they face Princeton then Hobbton to round things out in the regular season.