Lakeside fights to final play in tough loss to Lincoln Prep

By Josh Beavers

The first lead for this story went a little something like this: “A nimble quarterback with fast legs and a strong arm gashed Lakeside all night as Lincoln Prep came to Sibley and spoiled homecoming. Final score – Lakeside 27, Lincoln Prep 44.”

That’s to the point and fulfills all the 5 W’s you’re taught as a freshman Journalism student.

It’s also bland as all get out.

So, let’s do this once again. Lead number 2: “The Lakeside Warriors found themselves down as much as 24 points in their homecoming match against Lincoln Prep, but the home team refused to give up and proved that, even in defeat, the boys in red are Warriors to the end.”

Yep, like that better. And it’s a far more accurate representation of the game Friday night at Warrior Stadium.

This article doesn’t contain a quote from the coach. There’s no need because I’ve never really understood the point of getting a quote from a coach who hasn’t even had the chance to watch game film yet and see what went right and what went wrong. I know that the entirety of sports journalism is based around the concept of shoving a microphone in a coach’s face but give the gaffer a bit to process what’s transpired. You’ll get a better story.

So instead of boring old quotes, we’re going to spend the duration of this article highlighting the play of Warriors who stood out in defeat. Because that’s what you’re here for anyway. You want to read about those boys in red and what they did, win or lose.

Let’s begin with junior C.J. Watts.

Number 1 in your program continued his stellar defensive play on Friday as he racked up several tackles for loss and a couple sacks as well returning a fumble for Lakeside’s first touchdown. Watts was named the KASO Radio player of the game by longtime commentator Jessie Lowe.

Unfortunately for the home team, this was the only Lakeside lead of the night.

So now for a bit of the nuts and bolts of the game. Lincoln Prep’s Tarell Simons, who is listed as a receiver, lined up all night at quarterback. It’s easy to see why the coaches made the switch after the performance he put on Friday.

Simons was responsible for five Lincoln Prep touchdowns and accounted for nearly 350 yards of offense. He was virtually unstoppable all game and eluded Lakeside Warriors like a young Michael Vick.

After the C.J. Watts defensive touchdown, Simons put on a show as he led Lincoln Prep to 31 unanswered points and a 24-point third quarter lead.

But Lakeside continued to fight, and the second Warrior to earn recognition herein is senior runner Ashton Stewart.

Number 30 followed last week’s stellar performance with another 159 yards on the ground. He started slow, only picking up about 20 yards in the first half. However, he just kept running and looking for holes. Eventually his O-line began to open running lanes, and Stewart put on a show in the second half. He scored two touchdowns to go along with his buck 59 on the ground.

While Stewart’s running was formidable, it just couldn’t keep pace with Simons. Yet despite the Panthers prowess under center, there were several Lakeside defenders who shined Friday.

One of those defenders was senior Jake Wilkins, who was playing in only his second career game. Playing defensive line and wearing number 79, Wilkins forced several turnovers thanks to solid tackling and skill at shedding blocks. He also got a hand on a punt and recovered a pair of fumbles.

Another Lakeside defender who stood out was senior number 55 Kris Redden. Just like always, he was responsible for numerous quarterback hurries and tackles for loss, but it was a show of sportsmanship that made Kris stand out under the Friday night lights this homecoming.

Early in the game, a Panther player went down hard and suffered a difficult injury. The young man was down on the field quite a while with coaches and trainers and doctors from both sides huddled over him. A stretcher was eventually brought, and the young man was wheeled to an ambulance. Kris, in his kind selfless way, jogged about 20 yards to give the injured Panther a fist bump and a show of “good game.”

Kris should make us all realize that sports are just a game. And games should never be taken too seriously. There are much more important things in the world. Human decency is one of them.

There are many other players who could be highlighted. Josh Sebald played well as did Kevin Johnson; the latter of the two scored a touchdown. Jaden Miller had another good game at linebacker, and quarterback Jacob Whitehead shook off some bad throws to lead the Warriors to 20 second half points. Cade Boley played well, and J.D. Perrin recovered an onside kick late that helps illustrate the theme of this article. That is the Warriors didn’t give up even though they likely knew victory was virtually impossible once the Panthers went up by more than three touchdowns.

Victory was not Lakeside’s, and this was the second time the team has fallen this season. They now sit at 3-2 with a visit to North Webster slated for next week.

The Knights lost Friday as well and are on a four-game losing skid. Both teams need a win as the fight for playoff positioning has begun. There’s less than half a season left to play, but no matter what happens over the next few weeks, Lakeside proved Friday night it is a team that doesn’t give up and doesn’t give in.

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