In Sept. 17 IssueBy Derek AaronTimes Journal Sports Editor
It was another tough night for the 1-2 Lakers this past Friday as they were beaten on the road 50-26 by the 2-2 Pulaski County Maroons at PC Field.
The Maroons put up points in bunches in the first half of play and the Lakers had no answer for Pulaski County Coach Johnny Hines' attack.
“I just thought it took us a long time to get started,” said Laker Head Coach Bill Sharp after the game. “We didn't quit, we just didn't start doing anything until the second half.”
Sharp said it was his responsibility to get his players ready to play come game time.
“We've played three ballgames and really have failed to do that,” he said. “I've got to go back and evaluate what we're doing, how we're practicing and the things that we're trying to get done and make changes if I need to and see if I can't get these kids on the field in the first quarter ready to make some plays.”
The Maroons scored six first half touchdowns in the rout and never looked back, leading 40-0 at halftime.
PC running back Alex Abner scored the first of his three touchdowns of the night on a 3-yard run to give the Maroons the lead with just under 11 minutes left in the first quarter. The next Maroon possession saw quarterback Zach Eastham connect with tight end Mikey Shepherd on a 38-yard touchdown score and sent the lead to 13-0.
The two would hook up again on their next drive as well and the rout was on.Maroon Jordan Walden would score on a reception in the second quarter while Abner scored two more times on touchdown runs.
Sharp said he noticed that Hines backed off of the Lakers some in the second half when he changed up their quarterback and running back as Hines sat Eastham and Abner, despite leaving the offensive line and some key defensive players in for a time longer.
“We made some plays in the second half against their first string,” he said. “But we just got to be able to do that earlier in the ballgame and get some momentum going.”The Lakers scored their first touchdown of the game on the first play from scrimmage in the third quarter when freshman tailback Nick Britt raced down the sideline for a 70-yard touchdown run.
“Ninety percent of football is mental and I told that to the kids at halftime,” Sharp said. “If you have a defeatist attitude from the get-go then you're beat and it took us a long time to get over that, up into the second half before we decided 'Hey, we really want to play some football'.”
Later in the game, Russell County put a few more scores on the board when junior fullback Nathan Irvin rumbled ahead for a 1-yard score, senior kick returner Jordan Best scored on an 85-yard kickoff return and freshman quarterback Barton Mann connected with senior tight end Austin Hill for a 20-yard touchdown late in the game.
Britt led the Lakers in rushing with 104 yards on 10 carries and a score while Irvin tallied 48 rushing yards and a score. Junior quarterback Martin Cross had 111 yards through the air while Mann connected for 74 yards and a score late in the game.
Hammond had 111 yards receiving while Hill caught two passes for 38 yards and a score.
“We've got a lot of work to do,” Sharp said. “We've got to get better in order to win a game some place, where that's at I don't know but we'll go back to work.”
The Lakers host the 0-3 Wayne County Cardinals this Friday at Finley Field at Laker Stadium for Homecoming 2009.
When speaking about next week's formidable Homecoming opponent, Sharp said his team better come ready to play against Coach Shawn Thompson's team.
“We don't play any chip chumps,” he said. “We don't play anybody that can't play.”
He said the Cardinals have traditionally been a tough opponent for the Lakers.
“They're going to come into our place and be loaded and we've got to weather the storm early and play with confidence, speed, quickness and get after it,” Sharp said.
The 2009 Homecoming queen will also be crowned at halftime of the football game.