Lakeland slogged its way to a 34-0 NECC football victory over West Noble last Friday night in soggy Ligonier.
Though no thunder was heard by the hearty fans who braved the drizzly conditions, the Lakers did provide a bit of lightning in the opening six minutes of play. Taking over the ball on the Charger 35 after a short punt, Lakeland needed just four plays to find paydirt. Senior fullback Thomas Roebel rumbled in from five yards out to put the visitors ahead, 7-0 with only 2:30 gone.
Two minutes later, the Laker special teams go into the act when they blocked a West Noble punt. On the next play, senior quarterback William Kelly hit senior slot back Taylor Raatz in stride for 22-yard touchdown and a 14-0 edge.
That would be all the scoring in the first half, as both teams found it hard to hang onto the ball due to the deteriorating weather conditions. Lakeland missed a field goal late in the opening quarter and West Noble had two drives stall deep in Laker territory, one on downs and the other on an interception by Lakeland senior Quinten Bender.
“There were spots when we ran the ball well in the first half, but we’re not as consistent as we should be,” said Lakeland head coach Keith Thompson. “We have some guys on the offensive line who are still on a learning curve. But it’s not just the line. In the Wing-T, everyone is responsible to block. We need to be more physical as a unit.”
The Lakers struck quickly once again at the start of the third period. On second down from his own 31, Kelly tossed a short pass to Joel Miller. The speedy senior beat his West Noble defender and out raced the rest of the Charger defense to the end zone to complete a 69-yard scoring play. Marco Olivares’ third PAT kick of the game boosted Lakeland to a 21-0 lead 26 seconds into the second half.
West Noble threatened to put points on the board midway through the third quarter when it drove inside the Laker 10. However, a sack of junior quarterback Waylon Richardson on third down followed by an incomplete pass ended the drive on downs.
Lakeland then went on a 14-play, 82-yard march that ate over six minutes of the clock and ended with Roebel busting over the goalline from three yards out for his second touchdown. Roebel finished with a team-high 72 yards on 12 carries.
Bender capped the Laker scoring with a 22-yard touchdown scamper with 3:57 to play in the fourth period. He followed Roebel on the rushing chart with 60 yards.
Kelly finished 7-13 through the air for 147 yards. Miller, senior Kyle Casper and Raatz each caught two passes.
Seniors Morgan Moore and Evan Garretson totaled nine and seven tackles, respectively to pace the Laker defense which pitched its second consecutive shutout. “It’s always encouraging to get the shutout and make plays when the other team gets into the red zone, which we did tonight,” Thompson cited.
Lakeland, now 5-0 overall and in conference play, hosts Eastside (1-4, 0-4) this Friday.
West Noble 0
Scoring by quarters
LL 14 0 7 13 -34
WN 0 0 0 0 -0
LL—Thomas Roebel five-yard run, Marco Olivares kick
LL—Taylor Raatz 22-yard pass from William Kelly, Olivares kick
LL—Joel Miller 69-yard pass from Kelly, Olivares kick
LL-- Roebel three-yard run, PAT blocked
LL—Quinten Bender 22-yard run, Olivares kick
Total Yards 379 157
Rushing 232 69
Passing 147 88
Total Plays 58 51
First Downs 19 9
Turnovers 3 3
Penalties 6-45 2-10
LL—Roebel 12-72; Bender 7-60; Raatz 6-53; Casper 6-32; J. Miller 1-15; Collyer 5-13; Fuller 1-3; K. Miller 1-(-1); Kelly 6-(-15)
WN—Nelson 13-84; Breetz 4-9; Taylor 3-3; Swartz 2-1; Richardson 8-(-28)
LL—Kelly 7-13, 147
WN—Richardson 10-22, 88
LL—J. Miller 2-86; Casper 2-36; Raatz 2-22; Petty 1-5
WN—Alexander 3-38; Nelson 3-20; McFarren 2-11; Breetz 1-19; Zamarripa 1-0
LL—Moore 9; Garretson 7; Attkisson 6; Casper 5; Sams 5
WN—Kiser 6; McFarren 6; Medina 6; Nelson 5