Lakers had a rough night ‘chasing’ Austin, Patriots

By Wayne E. Rivet

Staff Writer

GRAY — Even running on a bad wheel, Austin Chase can certainly motor.

The senior running back rushed for 225 yards on 27 carries and scored four touchdowns in the third quarter as Gray-New Gloucester (4-1) broke open a tight game en route to a 32-14 victory Friday night over Lake Region (0-5).

Chase has been the engine that has driven the Patriots to a program best start this fall. Known for his ability to exploit a tiny crack in an opposing defense, resulting in explosive, long TD runs, Chase was visibly hobbled Friday night by a bad ankle.

Early on, the LR defense stood tall by stonewalling the Patriots on their opening drive as Nick Wandishin and Gunnar Harriman stuffed G-NG receiver Zack Haskell for just a yard gain on a fourth down play at the LR-11.

While the LR defense kept Chase and the Patriots in check over the first 24 minutes — surrendering a 1-yard score by quarterback Justice Bowie with 2:06 left until intermission — the game got out of hand quickly in the third quarter.

Four Patriot series led to 26 points. Game over.

After their first drive — 12 plays, 71 yards — took nearly half the quarter ending with a 9-yard Chase TD, the Patriots capitalized quickly on a turnover, a Laker kickoff miscue and a poor punt.

Time, 4:30 — Chase scores from five yards out as the Patriots cash in on a fumble recovery by Elijah Simmons. Five plays, 56 yards. The big play: 22-yard completion from Bowie to Haskell.

Time, 4:12 — Lake Region fails to cover up the ensuing squib kickoff — a ploy used by the Patriots the entire game to keep the ball out of the hands of electric returner Dakota Stover. Ball recovered by Tristan Herod at the LR-39. Two plays, Chase scores from five yards out. The big play: Chase breaks free for 34 yards, saving tackle by Zack Clark.

Time, 1:38 — A high snap results in short punt. Chase scores from five yards out. The big play: Gray keeps the ball on the ground as Simmons carries twice for 13 yards and Chase twice for 12 yards.

In the third, the Lakers ran just 11 plays to the Patriots 28.

The Lakers prevented the shutout by scoring twice in the fourth quarter. Gray-NG’s second team offense turned the ball over at the LR-48, and the Lakers went to the air. After a 1-for-7 showing for nine yards against the Patriots’ starting defense, the Lakers hit on four consecutive passes against the reserves. QB Doug Banks connected with Wandishin for 18 yards and Stover for 21 yards, placing the ball inside the GNG-10. On third down, Banks went to Wandishin, whose height advantage resulted in a four-yard TD with 4:54 left. Kicker Marcus DeVoe knocked through the extra point.

GNG again reached Laker territory running the ball, but again fumbled with Zach Botros recovering at the LR-24 with 54.4 seconds left on the clock.

Banks hooked up with Stover on a sideline route, resulting in a 73-yard score with 41.8 ticks left. DeVoe added the extra point try.

Something you don’t see every day, the Patriots elected to kick the ball off after the Laker score. LR ended the game with Banks taking a knee.

“We went JV players as best we could without it becoming a farce. Guards were new, right tackle was a freshman, two of three starting running backs were out, we don’t have a backup center to speak of yet, we did not have a backup quarterback due to injuries,” LR Coach Brian Jahna said of his late game lineup.

The Lakers had a tough time finding any sort of rhythm on offense and came up short twice on short yardage situations, ending promising drives.

“(The) passing game was a situation of missed opportunities. We had open receivers and need to get the ball to them,” Coach Jahna said.

Meanwhile, the defense spent a lot of time on the field as the Patriots ran 25 more plays than the Lakers. The Lakers had a tough time holding the point of attack on the outside, with coaches consistently telling game officials ends were being blocked in the back.

“Lexus (Rodriguez) did a nice job playing physical all game,” said Coach Jahna about the LR senior who had six tackles. “Nick Lepage (a defensive end, who had six tackles) did well considering what he had to go through all game.”

Looking back at the game-deciding third quarter, Coach Jahna simply said, “We need to learn how to keep our composure. That is a work in progress.”

STAT SHEET

GRAY-NG 32

LAKERS 14

First Downs: LR 6, GNG 21

Penalties: LR 4-32, GNG 5-50

Turnovers: LR 2, GNG 2

Offensive plays: LR 45, GNG 70

Rushing: LR 25-100, GNG 65-393

Passing: LR 5-11-125, GNG 6-9-62

Total Offense: LR 225, GNG 455

LR Rushing: Lexus Rodriguez 5-28, Jordan Williams 6-14, Gunnar Harriman 4-21, Doug Banks 4-0, Dakota Stover 6-37

GNG Rushing: Elijah Simmons 13-78, Austin Chase 27-225, Zack Haskell 2-22, Zack Terrell 2-15, Justice Bowie 2-3, Eric Gilbert 7-53, Hunter Bryant 1-minus 1, Andrew Topham 1-minus 1

LR Tackles (solo, assist, total): Jay Justason 7-4-11, Lexus Rodriguez 5-1-6, Nick Lepage 5-1-6, Jordan Williams 3-1-4, Todd Crawford 0-3-3, Mark Mayo 1-3-4, Gunnar Harriman 5-4-9, Nick Wandishin 0-1-1, Isaac Girard 0-1-1, Dan Neault 1-1-2, Tim Cronin 4-0-4, Marcus DeVoe 1-1-2, Paul Angelone 0-1-1, Jack Dow 2-0-2, Ben Moen 3-0-3, Dakota Stover 1-0-1, Zach Clark 3-0-3, True Meyers 2-1-3, Zach Botros 1-1-2, Gabe Pomerleau 0-1-1

Up next: The Lakers (0-5) travel to Wells Friday for a 7 p.m. game against the Warriors (3-2). Wells lost to Yarmouth last week, 16-15.

 

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