By Josh Beavers
How about some new names?
Jase Pate, Ty Maness, Caleb Conditt, Rosston Weaver, Tamarjah Ferrell. What do they all have in common? They each played a key part for a Lakeside defense that dominated the second half of Friday night’s game against Lincoln Prep.
Final score: Warriors 34 – Panthers 28.
During the halftime scores update for the Journal, I mentioned that the Lakeside game was a tale of two offenses. Neither defense could stop a drive in the first two quarters as Lincoln led 22-20 after the first 30 minutes.
And then the Warriors adjusted.
Pate and Maness terrorized the Panther quarterback the entire second half. They had sacks, tackles for loss and too many QB hurries to count. Add in some fumble recoveries, and it is easy to see why the rest of the defense rallied around the two seniors.
They led the way for players like Weaver, who made a key sack and other big plays, and Conditt, who broke up two straight Panther screen plays on key downs late in the game.
Lakeside was able to score a pair of touchdowns in the second half, but Lincoln Prep found the endzone late in the game to cut the Warriors lead to six.
The Warriors recovered the onside kick and just had to run out the clock. That’s when it seemed tragedy struck.
Jordan Case, a standout for the Warriors, let the ball slip away and the Panthers recovered the fumble inside Lakeside territory. The young man was heartbroken, and it was easy to see he would never forgive himself if the Panthers took the win. But his teammates did what teammates are supposed to do. They helped him. They helped each other. They said “We play as one. We fight as one. We lose as one. We win as one.”
And that’s when Tamarjah Ferrell stood tall.
The junior defensive back made perhaps the biggest play of the season so far when he picked off a Panther pass at the goal line. By the time he was tackled, the clock had run out and the Warriors had wrapped up their fourth straight win.
That’s a good teammate. That’s a good team.
Case may have beaten himself up over his one mistake, but it’s important to look back at what he accomplished throughout the rest of the game.
After Rokedrick Smith opened the scoring with a short touchdown run at 5:53 of the first quarter, Case recovered an onside kick. He then picked up 30 yards on the ground to set up a beautiful touchdown pass from Cooper Chase to Omero Urbina. The pass covered only eight yards, but it was as perfect of a fade into the back corner of an endzone as you will ever see in high school football.
It was 12-0 Lakeside at that point, but Lincoln Prep was about to go on a spree. They scored three straight touchdowns to Lakeside’s zero. No matter how much the offense tried, they just couldn’t sustain a drive. Urbina caught passes and Case regularly ripped off 10, 15, 20-yard gains, but the drives always fell apart before the endzone.
This was the way of things up until the final moments of the half. Urbina and Case converted two straight fourth downs, and then Josh Sebald caught a slant from Chase over the middle for a 20-yard touchdown.
Sebald lined up at quarterback for the try for two and ran in for the conversion. There was barely a minute to go, and the offensive linemen were on the sidelines begging the defense to make one stop. “Hold em for just one minute,” the big fellas pleaded.
And that’s when it started. It started with Caleb Conditt. He sacked the Lincoln Prep quarterback, and then Jeremiah Allen and Tamarjah Ferrell nearly picked off back-to-back Panther passes. Those big defensive plays were a preview of what was to come. But for the moment, Lakeside still trailed, 22-20, going into the locker room.
Jase Pate started the second half by recovering an onside kick.
Jordan Case picked up 13 yards. Josh Sebald picked up 15. Rokedrick Smith carried nine Panther defenders down to the three. The next play, Chase and Sebald connected again for a score. This one was in the corner of the endzone. They connected again on the two-pointer to take the lead, 28-22.
Pate and Maness made back-to-back huge hits on Panther ball carriers in the back field, and then Maness and Ross Weaver sacked the quarterback. Pate ran down the quarterback on the fourth down try and forced a bad pass and a turnover on downs.
The Panthers defense held, so Pate and Maness led the Warriors back out and once again hurried and hit the quarterback.
The teams traded possessions. Maness recovered a fumble. Sebald and Urbina made stunning catches. And Conditt broke up the screens.
The Panthers went for it on fourth down on their own six with 4:47 to play. They failed to convert, and a moment later, Sebald caught another scoring strike from Chase to make the score 34-20.
The Panthers made a long touchdown pass shortly after to pull within six. Urbina recovered the onside kick, and then Case made his only error. He fumbled, Lincoln Prep recovered, and the Panthers had a short field.
The seconds were ticking past, and Lincoln Prep was moving ever closer to tying or winning the game. And then Tamarjah Ferrell made the biggest play of the season. He intercepted the pass. The clock ran out. The Warriors won.
In the excitement that followed, I lost track of several players. I was trying to film and take pics at the same time, and that never works out well. You just get blurry pics and videos that cut off people’s heads. I didn’t see what happened with every player, but I like to think number 5 (Case) and number 3 (Ferrell) found each other on that beautiful green field and embraced.
A simple word of thanks from Case, a young man who gave everything he had to give on that field. A simple reply of no problem from Ferrell, a teammate who just did what any good teammate would do. He stepped up.
We lose together. We win together.
And Lakeside has been doing a lot of winning lately. They will go for five in a row on Friday at Darbonne Woods.
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