Photo by Jim Cayer
Lakewood didn't quite look like the juggernauts that many are expecting to rule the Moore League this season, but they made few mistakes and took advantage of costly Compton mistakes to win a game they were supposed to dominate on the road by a 37-0 score.
The PAC-5 Division's No. 3 team and the only undefeated squad in the Moore League at 5-0, Lakewood got off to a slow start offensively but opened up the second quarter with a three-touchdown flurry to pull away from the Tarbabes. Senior quarterback Tyler Schultz threw 21-29 for 197 and two touchdowns, while senior tailback Allie Long racked up 85 yards on 13 rushing attempts with both a rushing and receiving touchdown.
The game's first drive resulted in a Lakewood field goal, but Compton's first possession ended with a fumbled punt snap that gave Lakewood the ball with just twenty yards to paydirt. Ryan Cummings punched in a touchdown from three yards out to give Lakewood a 10-0 lead.
Compton came out showing a shotgun spread passing offense, far cry from the Double Wing T rushing attack that put the Tarbabes on the map in recent years and rarely produced more than five passing plays in an entire game. Junior quarterback Tremell Sneed threw for 79 yards on 9-17 attempts, but the team is still adjusting to their new offensive identity. Sneed did hit a groove during one stretch, which resulted in a few big gains. But Compton was ultimately unable to sustain long drives and the running game was snuffed by an impressive Lakewood defense. Lineman Todd Barr was a handful and made sure that Compton running backs Roger Jones and Deonte Dixon had few places to go.
Compton head coach Calvin Bryant said that they knew Lakewood would be a formidable opponent and decided to roll out the new offense to see what they were capable of at this point in the season.
"Offensively, we're sparking, but we can't put together consistent drives," Bryant said. "We knew this game would be a good measuring stick. But you haven't heard the last of us. Our guys have their heads up and we'll get better from here."
While Compton was struggling to find rhythm offensively, Lakewood pounced on good field position and exploited mistakes to pull away in the second quarter. A Compton fumble gave Lakewood the ball with just 26 yards to go, and Long scored from six yards out to make the score 17-0 just a few minutes into the second quarter. Less than three minutes later, Schultz found junior Malik Gilmore streaking down midfield for a 40-yard touchdown pass. Schultz connected again on a screen pass with Long a few minutes later for a 19-yard touchdown pass and Lakewood took a 30-0 lead into halftime. The Lancers would tack on one more in the second half for a 37-0 final score.
"We weren't as sharp as I would like to see at times," said Lakewood head coach Thadd MacNeal. "The defense really did a great job and we've been a little banged up so I'm glad we got out unscathed."
Even for a coach fresh off a win, it was impossible not to begin thinking ahead to next week's showdown with Long Beach Poly. Many believe that the winner of that game will emerge as champion of the Moore League.
"We've got a big challenge next week," MacNeal said. "We know it, and it's going to be fun."