Yarmouth brings Lakers back down to earth

ERIC CHRISTENSEN attempts to block a pass by Yarmouth quarterback Brady Neujahr last Friday night. The Clippers stomped the Lakers 63-0. (Rivet Photo)

ERIC CHRISTENSEN attempts to block a pass by Yarmouth quarterback Brady Neujahr last Friday night. The Clippers stomped the Lakers 63-0. (Rivet Photo)

By Wayne E. Rivet

Staff Writer

When Brian Jahna saw the scoreboard, he kept the outcome in perspective.

Guest: 63

Home: 0

“It’s a loss, but it’s only a loss and we will move forward. We’ll be fine. I thought our guys came out in the second half with the right frame of mind and played hard. We know at the end of the day we want to compete and win, but if we don’t, I know I have the best group of young men that I could possibly ask for,” Lake Region varsity football coach Brian Jahna said after seeing his club steamrolled by Yarmouth. “As long as we play the game the right way, we will be able to hold our heads high no matter what the score is. We made some mistakes that football-wise we are not happy with, but as young men, I am proud of them with the way they acted here tonight.”

Even the head official complimented the Lakers as they walked off the field.

“Thank you for staying classy out there,” he said.

It could have turned ugly in terms of chippy play, but the Lakers took their lumps and plan to move on. Unlike a week ago, the Lakers made too many mistakes against a top-flight club like Yarmouth to even have a remote chance to keep the game close.

“We talked about it all week that we couldn’t afford to turn the ball over against a very good team like Yarmouth. They execute as good, if not better than, any team in the state. We knew if we made mistakes, they would steamroll us. And, that’s what they did,” Coach Jahna said. “I thought we would have higher energy coming out after our win over Mountain Valley. We were battling a lot of emotions all week (being Homecoming), it was exhausting, not something you may want when you are having to play a team like Yarmouth, which is machine-like.”

If the Lakers had an ounce of giddiness left from their stunning win over Mountain Valley, Yarmouth slapped them with a dose of cold reality.

The Clippers returned the opening kickoff to the Laker 17, and with just 1:31 off the clock, Yarmouth was up 7-0 as Thomas Lord scored from four yards out.

The Laker defense had a chance to dodge the bullet forcing a fourth down play, but speedy Matthew Klepinger (seven carries, 94 yards) showed how he can make a cut and go on a dime, slicing through the front wall for a 10 yard gain.

“They were quick everywhere. They were quick to the edges, they were quick on cutbacks. There was no way to replicate their speed in practice. All we could do was to impress upon our guys to stay with the assignments. We didn’t do that,” Coach Jahna said. “We didn’t play the kind of defense that we did the past two weeks. We got a little bit sloppy.”

Sloppy play put the Lakers in a big hole. After a punt pinned the Lakers on their own six-yard line, a fumbled snap was recovered by the Clippers. Matthew Woodbury, who torched the Laker defense for 108 yards, scored the first of his two touchdowns from nine yards out.

Needing a response, the Lakers regained their composure and threatened to get back into the game as quarterback Quinn Piland, making a return from an injured ankle, found Nick Wandishin for a 23-yard strike. Piland kept the drive moving with a quick toss over the middle to tight end Nick Hall for 12 yards. Just as he did a week ago, Donovan Eaton broke free on the left side and scampered 26 yards to the Y-5.

But, the Clippers swarmed to the ball, sacking Piland on third down for a 14-yard loss. LR tried to catch the Clippers sleeping using a run on fourth down, but Eric Christensen gained just eight yards.

Cam Harriman recovered a Yarmouth fumble to stop a drive at the LR-10. Unable to move the ball, the Lakers were forced to punt. Sophomore Marcus Devoe’s boot was blocked, and Yarmouth punched it in from a yard out, using battering ram Lord to make it 19-0.

Penalties and a short punt put the Lakers behind the eight ball again with 3:59 left until halftime. Yarmouth’s quarterback Brady Neujahr hooked up with Woodbury from 36 yards out for a 25-0 lead.

When things go bad, many times they just get worse.

On the ensuing kickoff, LR returner Trenton Hartford fought for additional yards, but had the ball pried out of his hands. Grant Tobias recovered the ball, and Yarmouth wasted little time finding the end zone. Neujahr scrambled for 10 yards, and Klepinger slipped a tackle by Eaton on a counter play to score from 11 yards out with 3:09 until the break.

Yarmouth 32, Lakers 0.

Another three-and-out forced the Lakers to punt the ball with 30 seconds left from their own 19. Devoe’s kick was fielded by Ryan Nason, who trucked down the right sideline. A Laker was flagged for a “hit to the head,” which added 15 more yards to the return. With 6.5 seconds left, LR linebacker Jay Justison stuffed Woodbury two yards shy of the goal line.

Yarmouth kept their foot on the gas pedal in the second half, capitalizing on a Piland interception as Woodbury broke loose for a 58-yard run, setting up a 25-yard TD by Klepinger.

LR continued to self-destruct as a quick pitch was fumbled and recovered by Yarmouth’s Benjamin Still. The miscue set up a 12-yard run by Jonathan Snyder.

Down 44-0, Coach Jahna turned the controls over to sophomore quarterback Douglass Banks, who had sparked some of the offensive magic a week ago with two well-placed TD passes.

But, the Lakers took the conservative approach the rest of the way, keeping the ball on the ground and finding little success.

“They didn’t give us much inside. They’re very talented. It was difficult trying to figure out where the soft spot was. We have some young linemen that are still developing physically and sometimes they get beat physically,” Coach Jahna said. “We were turning the ball over for scores, I didn’t want a sloppy interception end up in the end zone. So, we went to our base offense, which we need to improve upon. I wanted to drive the ball and not make a mistake that would result in a quick score for them.”

Yarmouth’s reserve Cody Cook was another burner. He scored from 32 yards out to end the third quarter, tacked on another score on a blocked punt to start the fourth quarter, and closed the book with a 36-yard run on fourth down to make it 63-0.

What a rollercoaster ride — a major high a week ago, and a major downer the next. A football bounces in funny ways — it will be interesting to see how it bounces this Friday night.

Next: The Lakers host Gray-New Gloucester Friday night at 7 p.m. The Patriots enter the game 0-3 with losses to Yarmouth (36-6), Freeport (18-12) and Leavitt (52-0).

“We need to get back to taking care of our assignments, not trying to do too much, and we’ll be fine,” Coach Jahna said.

Stat Sheet

YARMOUTH 63

LAKERS 0

First Downs: LR 5, YAR 8

Penalties: LR 5-40, YAR 8-65

Rushing: LR 34-60, YAR 30-310

Individual Rushing: LR, Eric Christensen 6-11, Cody Gibbons 7-21, Quinn Piland 5-(19), Cole Jakobs 1-2, Douglas Banks 1-0, Donovan Eaton 6-30, Gunnar Harriman 7-14, Luke Porter 1-1; YAR, Matthew Woodbury 8-108, Matthew Klepinger 7-94

Passing: LR 5-9-53; YAR 3-12-73

Receiving: LR, Nick Hall 2-16, Nick Wandishin 3-37

Tackles (solo, assist, total): LR, Donovan Eaton 3-0-3, Cody Gibbons 2-1-3, Jay Justison 3-1-4, Gunnar Harriman 6-0-6, Paco Casillo 2-0-2, Eric Christensen 1-1-2, Sean Edwards 3-0-3, Ron Hall 1-0-1, Douglas Banks 1-0-1, Cam Harriman 0-2-2.

Fumble Recovery: Cam Harriman

 

 

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