Lakers unable to overcome turnovers, fall to Yarmouth in opener

OFF TO A BAD START — Lake Region running back Dakota Stover fumbles the ball following a hit by Yarmouth's Jack Snyder during the first quarter of last Friday's season opener. (Rivet Photo)

OFF TO A BAD START — Lake Region running back Dakota Stover fumbles the ball following a hit by Yarmouth's Jack Snyder during the first quarter of last Friday's season opener. (Rivet Photos)

By Wayne E. Rivet

Staff Writer

YARMOUTH — There was one glaring number on Brian Jahna’s stat sheet that helped explain Lake Region’s 31-13 loss to Yarmouth Friday night.

4 turnovers, 21 points.

The Laker’s head coach could barely believe what he was seeing in the first 12 minutes as his club coughed up the ball twice (a third bobble was saved as lineman Dan Neault secured the loose pigskin before a Clipper defender could pounce on it at the LR-2) and tossed a costly interception.

“You just can’t expect to beat or possibly compete against a team like Yarmouth if you turn the ball over,” the Laker coach said.

To their credit, Laker players didn’t hang their heads after each mistake, but instead showed some grit as they once stopped the Clippers on four running attempts from the LR-2. On fourth down, senior back Lucas Uhl was stuffed for no gain at the LR-1 by a hard hit from Laker linebacker Ben Moen (six tackles) and lineman Neault.

“Two weeks in a row, we made stops. Gorham drove on us and we stood strong. We had the same thing today, and we also had the touchback in the end zone (stopping another Yarmouth drive at the start of the second quarter),” Coach Jahna said. “It shows our kids are playing physical football right up to the end. It’s exciting to coach them because they are a resilient bunch. They don’t give in. We don’t roll over.”

After the Laker D stopped Yarmouth, the offense stumbled again as the Clippers recovered a fumble at the LR-3. This time, captain Jack Synder scored on a sweep to the right with 5:51 left in the first.

LR gave the ball right back to the Clippers when quarterback Douglas Banks was picked off by Yarmouth linebacker Lucas Uhl, who returned the ball to the LR-34. Three plays later, Remi Leblanc scored from 5 yards out, and Andrew Beatty kicked his second point after to push the Clip lead to 14-0.

“With Yarmouth, if you make a mistake, their speed kills you,” Coach Jahna said.

Lake Region struggled mightily to establish its rushing attack as Yarmouth gave up tiny bites at a time. LR was limited to one first down in the first quarter and one through the first six minutes of the second quarter.

STACKED UP — The Lake Region defense stood its ground early, stopping the Clippers on four tries inside the five yard line lead by Ben Roakes (#71), Todd Crawford (#60) and Lexus Rodriguez (#17).  YARMOUTH 31 LAKE REGION 13 First Downs: LR 11, YAR 11 Penalties: LR 5-36, YAR 6-60 Turnovers: LR 4, YAR 1 Rushing: LR 44-168, YAR 31-139 Passing: LR 4-9-64, YAR 8-12-109 Total Yards: LR 232, YAR 248 LR rushing: Jordan Williams 13-98, Dakota Stover 3-3, Lexus Rodriguez 16-52, Douglas Banks 8-1 (sack yards 14), Chase Weese 4-14. Yarmouth rushing: John Thoma 2-6, Jack Snyder 7-28, Remi Leblanc 7-49, Brennan Strong 2-4, Lucas Uhl 7-39, Henry Venden 5-12, Cody Cook 1-1. LR receiving: Nick Wandishin 1-23, Marcus DeVoe 3-41. LR tackles (solo, assist, total): Lexus Rodriguez 4-2-6, Paul Angelone 4-4-8, Jordan Williams 2-3-5, Nick Wandishin 0-1-1, Ben Roakes 2-0-2, Dan Neault 0-1-1, Ben Moen 2-4-6, Dakota Stover 3-0-3, Marcus DeVoe 5-0-5, Nick Lepage 2-2-4, Todd Crawford 0-2-2, Thomas Noble 0-2-2, Isaac Girard 0-1-1. Next: The Lakers (0-1) host Spruce Mountain (0-1) at Art Kilborn Athletic Field in Naples on Friday at 7 p.m. The Phoenix lost their opener, 27-6 to Wells. Spruce committed five turnovers in the loss.

STACKED UP — The Lake Region defense stood its ground early, stopping the Clippers on four tries inside the five yard line lead by Ben Roakes (#71), Todd Crawford (#60) and Lexus Rodriguez (#17).
YARMOUTH 31
LAKE REGION 13
First Downs: LR 11, YAR 11
Penalties: LR 5-36, YAR 6-60
Turnovers: LR 4, YAR 1
Rushing: LR 44-168, YAR 31-139
Passing: LR 4-9-64, YAR 8-12-109
Total Yards: LR 232, YAR 248
LR rushing: Jordan Williams 13-98, Dakota Stover 3-3, Lexus Rodriguez 16-52, Douglas Banks 8-1 (sack yards 14), Chase Weese 4-14.
Yarmouth rushing: John Thoma 2-6, Jack Snyder 7-28, Remi Leblanc 7-49, Brennan Strong 2-4, Lucas Uhl 7-39, Henry Venden 5-12, Cody Cook 1-1.
LR receiving: Nick Wandishin 1-23, Marcus DeVoe 3-41.
LR tackles (solo, assist, total): Lexus Rodriguez 4-2-6, Paul Angelone 4-4-8, Jordan Williams 2-3-5, Nick Wandishin 0-1-1, Ben Roakes 2-0-2, Dan Neault 0-1-1, Ben Moen 2-4-6, Dakota Stover 3-0-3, Marcus DeVoe 5-0-5, Nick Lepage 2-2-4, Todd Crawford 0-2-2, Thomas Noble 0-2-2, Isaac Girard 0-1-1.
Next: The Lakers (0-1) host Spruce Mountain (0-1) at Art Kilborn Athletic Field in Naples on Friday at 7 p.m. The Phoenix lost their opener, 27-6 to Wells. Spruce committed five turnovers in the loss.

“Part of the problem was young guys playing their first varsity game. We were down about 10 players. We knew coming into this game we had to throw some crazy combinations together because of injury, illness and academic stuff,” Coach Jahna said. “We were missing some players on the line. There is a physicality piece that is going to change once we get some starters back. Also, they saw some things from Yarmouth that they aren’t used to. They may have seen some things in practice, but on game day, it is going 10 times faster. Plus, they had strong, experienced players back. They were ready to roll. That team was pretty much the same group that went to the playoffs last year. We’re putting together a brand new team.”

LR suited up 28 players, of which eight to 10 were freshmen.

Despite inconsistencies in the trenches, the Lakers finally found a rhythm with six minutes until halftime after Yarmouth’s kicker Beatty drilled a 36-yard field goal to make it 17-0.

Starting at their own 20, senior quarterback Douglas Banks provided a much-needed spark when he zipped the ball over the middle, hitting senior receiver Nick Wandishin in stride, good for 23 yards. Yarmouth was flagged for a roughing the passer penalty on the play, adding 15 yards to the end of the run.

At the Y-39, senior running back Lexus Rodriguez took a quick pitch to the outside for 8 yards, and then found some daylight off tackle for another 8 yards. Rodriguez kept the drive alive later on a 4th-and-2, following strong blocks from Neault and Ben Roakes for a first down. Jordan Williams bruised ahead for 6 yards, helping to set up Banks’ keeper from 4 yards out for a touchdown. Banks had a clear path to paydirt behind good blocks from Paul Angelone and Mark Mayo. The extra point was missed.

LR trailed 17-6 at halftime.

Again, a mistake proved costly for the Lakers. Under pressure, Banks fired a ball out to the sideline, but it was picked off by freshman corner Noah Eckersley-Ray. A personal foul penalty against the Lakers added 15 more yards on to the end of the play, placing the ball at the LR-5.

Rolling right, Clipper quarterback John Thoma fired a strike to Snyder for a score. The point after made it 24-6.

The Lakers battled back from the quick Yarmouth strike with a solid drive, moving the ball from their own 25 on a Rodriguez 11 yard gain to the LR-49. But, LR was unable to convert on a 4th-and-1 as Rodriguez was stonewalled by senior captain linebacker Ricky Tillotson and Tyler Waaler for no gain.

Yarmouth delivered the dagger as Thoma hooked up with Snyder with a 38-yard bomb down the middle, and two plays later Leblanc scampered 4 yards over the left side for a touchdown.

Playing hard to the final gun, the Lakers went 90 yards over the final 56.5 seconds to score with six ticks left on the clock. Williams blasted over the left side and rumbled down the sideline for 55 yards to the Y-35. After an incompletion, Williams delivered again, this time for 25 yards on the option. With 6.0 seconds left, Banks uncorked a perfect throw down the middle to tight end Marcus DeVoe, who leaped and caught the spiral over a Yarmouth defender for a 10-yard TD strike. DeVoe kicked the extra point.

Although Coach Jahna and his club were disappointed with the final outcome, there were “flashes” as to what the Lakers could be.

“On both sides of the ball, we were putting new combinations together (linebackers to defensive) so there was some confusion from time to time. Overall, we played pretty physical and technical. We got sealed on a few blocks, resulting in big plays. I was disappointed how we came out of the chute, which could have become a mercy rule situation, but it didn’t. We were resilient, which kept us in the game,” Coach Jahna said. “They do a good job of listening to what they did wrong, accept it, make adjustments, and improve their game. The level they allow themselves to be coached is higher than it ever has been. That’s what is going to allow them to get better every week.”

 

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