Lakers wrap up Freeport, 28-14

GOING NOWHERE — Lake Region's Lexus Rodriguez applies the finishing touches on a stop against Freeport Friday night. (Rivet Photos) LAKERS  FREEPORT First Downs: LR 14, FRE 16 Penalties: LR 9-80, FRE 8-85 Turnovers: LR 2, FRE 2 Rushing: LR 34-202, FRE 43-213 Individual Rushing: LR, Kyle DeSouza 17-123, Doug Banks 3-14, Donovan Eaton 3-16, Lexus Rodriguez 8-49, Gunnar Harriman 3-30; FRE, Brady Lafrance 6-23, Tyler Julian 12-50, Peter LaMagna 22-151, Eli Fox 3-minus 11 Passing: LR 4-11-93, FRE 5-14-57 Receiving: LR, Quinn Piland 2-70, Nick Hall 1-12, Marcus DeVoe 1-23; FRE, Jake Perry 3-27, Peter LaMagna 1-9, Brady Lafrance 1-21 Tackles (solo, assist, total): LR, Jay Justason 4-2-6, Cole Jakobs 3-2-5, Donovan Eaton 4-3-7, Nick Lepage 0-2-2, Andrew Douglass 9-2-11, Lexus Rodriguez 4-2-6, Gunnar Harriman 3-2-5, Dakota Stover 0-1-1, Nick Gagnon 1-0-1, Nick Hall 1-0-1, Curtis Gerrish 1-1-2, Todd Crawford 0-1-1, Joey Beaulieu 0-1-1, Zach Clark 0-1-1, Jack Dow 1-0-1

GOING NOWHERE — Lake Region's Lexus Rodriguez applies the finishing touches on a stop against Freeport Friday night. (Rivet Photos)
LAKERS
FREEPORT
First Downs: LR 14, FRE 16
Penalties: LR 9-80, FRE 8-85
Turnovers: LR 2, FRE 2
Rushing: LR 34-202, FRE 43-213
Individual Rushing: LR, Kyle DeSouza 17-123, Doug Banks 3-14, Donovan Eaton 3-16, Lexus Rodriguez 8-49, Gunnar Harriman 3-30; FRE, Brady Lafrance 6-23, Tyler Julian 12-50, Peter LaMagna 22-151, Eli Fox 3-minus 11
Passing: LR 4-11-93, FRE 5-14-57
Receiving: LR, Quinn Piland 2-70, Nick Hall 1-12, Marcus DeVoe 1-23; FRE, Jake Perry 3-27, Peter LaMagna 1-9, Brady Lafrance 1-21
Tackles (solo, assist, total): LR, Jay Justason 4-2-6, Cole Jakobs 3-2-5, Donovan Eaton 4-3-7, Nick Lepage 0-2-2, Andrew Douglass 9-2-11, Lexus Rodriguez 4-2-6, Gunnar Harriman 3-2-5, Dakota Stover 0-1-1, Nick Gagnon 1-0-1, Nick Hall 1-0-1, Curtis Gerrish 1-1-2, Todd Crawford 0-1-1, Joey Beaulieu 0-1-1, Zach Clark 0-1-1, Jack Dow 1-0-1

By Wayne E. Rivet

Staff Writer

With a rookie offensive line, Lake Region hasn’t had too many opportunities to “dominate” the trenches.

Friday, they did.

Senior Kyle DeSouza recorded his second 100-plus rushing game in a matter of a few weeks to lead the Lakers to a 28-14 victory over Freeport.

Coach Brian Jahna feels his club is starting to see the game plan finally falling into place.

“We matched up physically with Freeport a little more than some of the upper tier teams. When this happens, our guys have a little more confidence, play a little faster, stay on blocks a little longer, and follow the system a little better,” Coach Jahna said. “We played within our system.  Doug (Banks) made some good reads on the veer, which allowed him to step outside and pitch instead of giving to the dive back when they started stacking inside.”

Jahna really liked the way his team played, “with energy and patience, allowing things to happen and for adjustments to be made.”

The Laker defense made an early statement when Lexus Rodriguez delivered a big hit on a Freeport ball carrier, causing a fumble, which freshman linebacker Andrew Douglass recovered. The rookie backer would enjoy a big night, recording a team best 11 tackles, nine of which were solos.

The Lakers scored on their second touch, pounding the ball on the ground. Junior Gunnar Harriman capped off a six play, 46-yard drive with a 23-yard jaunt with 2:29 left in the first. Marcus DeVoe booted the extra point.

Freeport enjoyed some early success by running sweep plays to both sides of the field with senior Peter LaMagna (22 carries, 151 yards) doing the most damage. LaMagna ripped off 14, 18 and 19 yards before the Falcons stumbled when a pass down the middle was intercepted by LR cornerback Dakota Stover. Initially, it appeared Stover made the catch in the end zoned, but game officials ruled he was downed at the LR-1.

No matter.

CHANCE TO CELEBRATE — Wide receiver Quinn Piland (left) is congratulated by quarterback Doug Banks after the two hooked up for a 64-yard scoring strike.

CHANCE TO CELEBRATE — Wide receiver Quinn Piland (left) is congratulated by quarterback Doug Banks after the two hooked up for a 64-yard scoring strike.

DeSouza took a quick pitch and beat the Falcon defense for a 31-yard gain to erase the poor field position. The run proved to be a big spark as the Lakers drove the full length of the field in 10 plays, ending with DeSouza scoring from 8 yards out with 7:02 left until halftime. Freeport aided the scoring drive with a facemask and roughing the passer penalties.

The Falcons tightened the game before intermission by driving 73 yards in 13 plays with Eli Fox scoring from a yard out and LaMagna adding the two-point try. Big plays in the drive included a Laker offside penalty on fourth down, which gave Freeport a new set of downs and back-to-back 12-yard bursts by LaMagna, who beat LR defenders around the outside corner.

“The biggest problem with the sweeps was our pursuit angles and leaning into tackles instead of stepping into tackles. Coach Shea and Coach Marston did a nice job of making some slight alignment adjustments that put us in a little better position,” Coach Jahna said. “Kids were able to make technique adjustments, as well, that allowed them to get off blocks and be in the right position.”

Lake Region nearly added points before the break, but saw a nice drive stall at the FRE-10. Lexus Rodriguez returned the kickoff 16 yards to start the drive at the LR-47. Banks then uncorked a crisp pass to Marcus DeVoe along the sideline, good for 23 yards. Rodriguez followed with a 14-yard run, and with 26.7 left the Lakers were at the FRE-16. But, one pass completion was all the Lakers could convert on. The drive stalled when LR faked a field goal try, with holder Banks and tight end Nick Hall unable to connect on a ball thrown over the middle.

Turnovers nearly burned the Lakers in the third quarter. LR drove to the Falcon 6-yard line as the offensive line started to take command but the Lakers fumbled at the one. Fortunately, the Laker D was equally up to the fight, stopping Freeport on three downs courtesy of solid tackling from Nick Lepage, Cole Jakobs (2 stops) and linebacker Jay Justason.

A big return by Quinn Piland placed the ball at the FRE-16. After Banks found Hall over the middle for 12 yards on third down, the Lakers scored two plays later on a Banks 1-yard run. DeVoe added the extra point, giving the Lakers a 21-8 lead with 36.4 seconds left in the third quarter.

“The offensive line is getting better each week. They are the hardest working group on the team. They are improving on effort and on the details of our technique and scheme,” Coach Jahna said. “It also makes a huge difference when the running backs are on the right path and our quarterback makes the right read. Sometimes, mistakes from our skill players make the offensive line look bad.”

Lake Region went up 28-8 with 8:42 left in the game when Banks delivered a perfect strike over the middle to Piland, who made the catch in full stride and then turned on the burners to go untouched 64 yards for the score. Again, DeVoe was perfect on the PAT.

Freeport engineered a balanced drive with Fox finding Jake Perry for a 1-yard TD pass with 3:45 left, capping off a 12-play (7 runs, 5 passes), 76-yard scoring drive.

The Lakers chewed up the final 3:44 by running the ball to the tune of 5, 7, 9 and 14-yard gains.

A solid, workmanlike effort.

Now, comes the real test — top-ranked Spruce Mountain this Friday night.

“We must have a focused week of practice without kids missing. Last week, our practice numbers dropped and we need to figure out how to be more committed to preparation,” Coach Jahna said. “We also have the potential of losing students to academic ineligibility, so having everyone remain eligible will be critical.”

Another key will be for the Lakers to respect their opponent, but not fear them.

“We often come out a little slow against the top tier teams, often a little nervous. We need to come out quick, follow our technique, play hard and be patient,” Coach Jahna added. “Spruce is an incredibly talented team with great speed and precision. They make teams pay big whenever they make mistakes — they make splash plays on offense and defense. There’s a reason why they’re undefeated.” Game time is 7 p.m.

 

 

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