Turnovers, untimely penalties and a steady rain all added up to a dreary night for the Lakeland Lakers in their Class 3A sectional opener at Heritage last Friday.
The host Patriots took advantage of two costly fumbles and nine Lakeland penalties covering 90 yards in a 42-16 triumph over the Lakers.
Heritage (8-2) moves on to play a second-round sectional tilt at Tippecanoe Valley (8-2) this Friday, while Lakeland was sent to the sidelines with an 8-2 mark.
As they had done a week earlier against Churubusco, the Lakeland defense and special teams put the first points on the scoreboard. After holding the Patriots to a three-and-out near their own goalline, punter Will Knapke had the ball slip through his hands and dribble out of the end zone, resulting in a Laker safety.
Fielding the ensuing Heritage free kick near midfield, Lakeland quickly marched to the Patriot 15. However, an intentional grounding call on quarterback William Kelly stalled the drive.
From that point on, the game belonged to Heritage. Brenton Lockett’s 58-yard run set up the hosts’ initial touchdown – a 15-yard strike on fourth down from Conner Sheehan to Knapke.
Just before the first quarter ended, Dustin Swander recovered a Laker fumble and returned it 23 yards for a touchdown. In the second quarter, Sheehan ran one yard for a score and tossed a 72-yard touchdown pass to Knapke to give Heritage a 28-2 halftime edge.
Matters went from bad to worse for the Lakers when they fumbled the opening kickoff of the second half. Lockett scooped up the bobble and raced 40 yards to paydirt to put the Patriots ahead, 35-2.
Long touchdown runs by Cory Troyer (32 yards) and Devin Dimos (51 yards) accounted for the final 14 points of the Lakeland campaign. Dimos finished the game with a team-high 105 yards on 12 carries.
Lockett hauled the pigskin 14 times for 108 yards to pace Heritage. Sheehan was 3-10 through the air for 66 yards.
Scoring by quarters
LL 2 0 7 7 -16
HE 14 14 14 0 -42
LL—Heritage punt snap goes out of end zone for safety (11:04)
HE—Will Knapke 15-yard pass from Conner Sheehan, Logan White kick (4:55)
HE—Dustin Swander 23-yard fumble return, White kick (0:55)
HE—Sheehan one-yard run, White kick (8:51)
HE—Knapke 72-yard pass from Sheehan, White kick (2:51)
HE—Brenton Lockett 40-yard fumble return, White kick (11:43)
LL—Cory Troyer 32-yard run, Marco Olivares kick (9:16)
HE—Jacob Roop 11-yard run, White kick (2:25)
LL—Devin Dimos 51-yard run, Olivares kick (6:50)
First Downs 10 12
Rushing Yds. 174 167
Passing Yds. 13 66
Total Yards 187 233
Total Plays 48 57
Turnovers 2 1
Penalties 9-80 6-65
LL—Dimos 12-105; Troyer 5-56; Fuller 13-43; Hippenhammer 1-3; Miller 1-2; Barker 1-0; Bender 1-(-1); Raatz 3-(-4); Kelly 3-(-30)
HE—Lockett 14-108; J. Roop 5-38; Knapke 5-19; Conrad 4-14; Snider 3-2; Dossen 1-(-1); N. Roop 2-(-1); Sheehan 2-(-6); Gibson 1-(-6)
LL—Kelly 6-17, 13
HE—Sheehan 3-10, 66
LL—Dimos 4-(-6); Owens 1-13; Raatz 1-6
HE—Knapke 2-43; Toles 1-23
LL—Leary 6.5; Troyer 4.0; Owens 3.0; Petty 3.0; Moore 2.5
HE—Lockett 11.5; Brandt 6.5; Whitman 4.0; Knapke 3.5; Gerardot 3.5