Lakers strike early, wake up sleeping giant as Wells rolls, 55-14

SACKED — Laker quarterback Doug Banks is wrapped up for a loss. (Rivet Photo)

SACKED — Laker quarterback Doug Banks is wrapped up for a loss. (Rivet Photo)

By Wayne E. Rivet
Staff Writer
If a football game was just 24 minutes long, Lake Region certainly could claim they dominated a 5-2 Wells squad early Friday night.
A depleted Laker lineup bullied the bully, grinding it out for two long drives — one taking nearly six minutes off the clock before a fumble short-circuited an impressive start, and a 12-play, 75-yard jaunt finished off with a Kyle DeSouza 3-yard burst to tie the game, 7-7 at the half.
But, the sleeping giant awoke and the Lakers felt Wells’ wrath.
The Warriors scored 27 unanswered points and throttled the host Lakers 55-14 in the regular season finale at Art Kilborn Athletic Complex.
“Wells is probably the most physical team in the conference. And we played physical, grind it football against them, at least in the first half,” Laker Coach Brian Jahna said. “They certainly came out ready to play in the second half and we knew they would. We let our guys know at halftime that they wouldn’t be happy.”
Ticked off might be one way to describe the Wells coaching staff after Lake Region rushed for 109 yards in the first half, and had a chance to take the early lead until senior Wells lineman Jordan Moore pounced on a loose ball at the W-20.
The Warriors took advantage of the LR miscue by giving the Lakers a dose of Wells football — pounding the rock with speedster Chris Carney (12 carries, 149 yards) and bruising bulldozer Michael Curtis (6-foot, 215 pound fullback).
With the Lakers stacking the box trying to stop the Warrior’s run game, quarterback Nate Booth flicked a 14-yard TD pass to Carney, who was alone in the end zone.
Wells drove on its next possession to the LR-21, but the Laker defense held firm as Lexus Rodriguez dumped Carney for a yard loss, and Marcus DeVoe nearly intercepted a pass.
The Lakers put together a nice drive as DeSouza broke free for 10 yards, giving quarterback Doug Banks some operating room to hook up with Quinn Piland for a 14-yard sideline completion. LR stuck with its ground attack with Rodriguez bursting ahead for 12 yards and DeSouza completing the drive with a score from 3 yards out with 46.8 seconds until halftime.
With good starting field position, Wells looked to score before intermission as Booth completed passes for 20 yards to Ryan Marsh and 17 to Carney. But, the Lakers again turned the

ELECTRICFYING RUN — Dakota Stover broke free for a 75-yard kickoff return.

ELECTRIFYING RUN — Dakota Stover broke free for a 75-yard kickoff return.

Warriors away as Booth was unable to connect with Marsh twice, and Wells was called for offensive pass interference on the quarter’s last play.
Giving the Laker defense a steady dose of Mike Curtis to start the third quarter, Wells scored on its first touch, but more importantly, took some of the starch out of the upstart Lakers. Curtis carried four straight times for 21 yards, and with the LR defense staggering, Carney bolted 48 yards on a counter play for a touchdown.
“It’s tough for us because we have no room for error. Our guys were tired. Unfortunately, it was hard for them to keep moving and playing with the intensity they had in the first half,” Coach Jahna said. “Our guys left everything they had on the field. It’s frustrating because we have lost a lot of players — some due to injury, some due to (academic) ineligibility and some deciding to just stop showing up.”
Lake Region gambled on its next possession, hoping to steal back some momentum by converting a fourth down play. They needed three yards, Piland battled for two.
Coach Jahna said the decision to “go for it” on fourth down was threefold — LR punter Marcus DeVoe, who was playing both offense and defense, had not kicked well due to fatigue; the Warriors’ return game “is talented”; and with the ball near midfield and the team is 2-6, “there was nothing to lose.”
Wells took advantage of the short field as Carney gained nine yards, LR was hit with a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, and Curtis bulled ahead from six yards out.
Then, the game fell apart for the Lakers. Reid Chase blew by Laker defenders on the right side for a 25-yard touchdown with 2:42 left.
LR quarterback Doug Banks was drilled on the release (he would leave the game due to an apparent concussion), and the ball was caught and returned by Deandre Woods for a touchdown with 2:15 left.
Down 34-7, the Lakers appeared totally out of gas when the Warriors took over to start the final quarter. Carney zipped through the line untouched and sprinted 60 yards for a score.
Give this Laker group credit — they never quit. On the ensuing kickoff, sophomore Dakota Stover brought Laker fans to their feet when he found some daylight along the Wells’ sideline and turned on the burners to stay steps ahead of two Warrior defenders, resulting in a 75-yard TD return.
A Laker turnover gave Wells’ second team good field position as Nick Hansen scored from two yards out.
Stover nearly made it back-to-back scores, taking the kickoff 30 yards up the middle before being tripped up.
With LR unable to move the ball, Wells tacked on a 65-yard TD run by freshman Chad Fitzpatrick with 4:17 left in the game. Hansen was forced to pass for the point after due to a low snap. He connected with Evan Whitten for the final points of the night.
Despite the lopsided defeat, Coach Jahna praised his club for their effort in face of adversity.

STACKED UP — Stopping a Wells running back for no gain were Lexus Rodriguez (#17) and Quinn Piland (#11).  WELLS 55 LAKERS 14 First Downs: LR 13, W 11 Penalties: LR 4-35, W 5-35 Turnovers: LR 3, W 0 Rushing: LR 46-179, W 34-366 Passing: LR 1-7-14, W 4-10-54 Total Offense: LR 193, W 420 Individual Rushing: LR, Lexus Rodriguez 9-54, Kyle DeSouza 22-77, Quinn Piland 9-33, Cole Jakobs 1-4, Trey Turcotte 3-2, Dakota Stover 2-8 Tackles (solo, assist, total): Nick Gagnon 0-1-1, Quinn Piland 1-6-7, Cole Jakobs 2-2-4, Marcus DeVoe 3-0-3, Damon Knight 4-1-5, Nick Lepage 3-0-3, Lexus Rodriguez 2-1-3, Dakota Stover 0-1-1, Charlie McDonough 0-1-1, Thomas Noble 1-1-2, Trey Turcotte 1-0-1, Tyler Breton 1-1-2.

STACKED UP — Stopping a Wells running back for no gain were Lexus Rodriguez (#17) and Quinn Piland (#11).
WELLS 55
LAKERS 14
First Downs: LR 13, W 11
Penalties: LR 4-35, W 5-35
Turnovers: LR 3, W 0
Rushing: LR 46-179, W 34-366
Passing: LR 1-7-14, W 4-10-54
Total Offense: LR 193, W 420
Individual Rushing: LR, Lexus Rodriguez 9-54, Kyle DeSouza 22-77, Quinn Piland 9-33, Cole Jakobs 1-4, Trey Turcotte 3-2, Dakota Stover 2-8
Tackles (solo, assist, total): Nick Gagnon 0-1-1, Quinn Piland 1-6-7, Cole Jakobs 2-2-4, Marcus DeVoe 3-0-3, Damon Knight 4-1-5, Nick Lepage 3-0-3, Lexus Rodriguez 2-1-3, Dakota Stover 0-1-1, Charlie McDonough 0-1-1, Thomas Noble 1-1-2, Trey Turcotte 1-0-1, Tyler Breton 1-1-2.

“We just had the best practice week we’ve had all season. The guys that were here tonight are amazing kids. They knew they were playing a tough and physical team, and they did not back down. The looked the giant right in the eye, and battled. That’s a credit to them and their courage,” Coach Jahna said. “We’re not as strong as them, but battled them just as hard. It was exciting. I was very proud of the guys. They play with a ton of heart.”
The Lakers simply ran out of gas.
“Our JV players — our sophomores and freshmen — are already playing for most of the game — some playing significant roles. So when we both tried to go with JV lineups, their players were fresh and ours were beat after playing most of the game. They were exhausted. So, the game got a little away from us,” Coach Jahna added.
Playoff bound: Although the Lakers managed just two wins this fall, one victory proved especially big.
By beating Freeport, the Lakers garnered enough points to edge out the Falcons for the final playoff spot in Class C West.
Coming off a double overtime win over Mountain Valley, Freeport had to beat Yarmouth to shoot past the Lakers. The Clippers throttled the Falcons 40-6, so despite the Lakers’ loss to Wells, LR is in.
Initially, it appeared the Lakers were headed for another trip to Livermore Falls to play Spruce Mountain. But, the Phoenix were knocked from the undefeated ranks by Leavitt, enabling the Hornets to take over the Number 1 seed.
So, the Lakers (2-6) head to Turner Friday night to play Leavitt (7-1) at 7 p.m. Leavitt has won seven straight since losing the season opener, 35-34 to Cape Elizabeth. The Hornets beat the Lakers 58-14.

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