By Scotty Blackwell
In front of a packed Homecoming crowd, the Lakeside Warriors needed just a few more seconds to put some points on scoreboard in a down-to-the-wire loss to the Lincoln Prep Panthers of Grambling. In this low scoring contest, the 1-3 Panthers travelled to Warrior Stadium in hopes of adding another win to the left side of their column and they were able to do just that. Despite several solid defensive stands by the Warriors, the Panthers were able to withstand the only really impressive drive by Lakeside late in the game, en route to a final score of 6-0.
Lakeside had the first chance to attack the endzone, but a muffed kick off return backed the Warriors up deep into Panther territory. Followed by a short series of sloppy offense, the Lincoln Prep Panthers took over within striking distance of their own goal line. It didn’t take long and Panther fullback #28 Marvin Johnson stormed in for the first and only touchdown of the night. The two point conversion attempt to follow was “no good” and the scorekeeper’s job was done for the night.
The ensuing 40 minutes of gameplay was a story of jaw-droppingly bad snaps and enough yellow flags on the ground to cover the logo. Twice in the game, the Lincoln Prep Panthers were on the Lakeside 1 yard line with 1st and goals, but penalties and bad snaps, that would fly 20-30 yard over Panther QB Jordan Brown’s head, would find the Grambling team facing 4th and goals from midfield. Lacking any sort of punting game the Panthers would bravely go for it each and every time, giving Lakeside excellent field position.
Sadly, the Warriors failed to capitalize time after time. There were sparks that would get the home crowd cheering though. The “Brock Case to Kameron Grigsby connection” woke the fans up a time or two. “Coco” Evans, a Lakeside Junior D-Lineman, showed up and showed up big, preventing any offensive fire from igniting for the Panthers.
When the halftime buzzer rang, the players went to their respective locker rooms with the score still unchanged at 6-0. While the coaches were trying to figure out strategy, the large Homecoming crowd eagerly awaited the crowning of the 2023 Homecoming Queen. All cheers and applause as the dazzling court were escorted by proud fathers, grandfathers, uncles and cousins. The anticipation built until Ms. Rainie Hughes’ name was finally called and Lakeside principal Denny Finley crowned this lovely lady 2023 Lakeside Homecoming Queen.
Back to the action…or lack thereof, saw a very familiar 3rd quarter. It was a slug fest. Literally 2 steps forward and a whole lotta steps back. The biggest play of the third came about halfway through when #6 D’tavion Wright finds the ball in the air for a big reception to the Lakeside 1 yard line. The following 1st and goal turned into another 4th and goal from the 50 yard line, due to more bad snaps and penalties, resulting in, you guessed it, no score and a Warriors’ shot at redemption.
That shot at redemption didn’t take place for Lakeside until very late in the 4th quarter. Senior runningback Jordan Case finally found some holes in the tired Lincoln Prep defense and gained some positive yards; something the Warriors fans had been waiting for. As the clock ticked down, Case and the Lakeside offense went to work, making their way down to the Panthers’ 1 yard line with only a few ticks left on the clock. Coming up on a 3rd down and the timer dwindling down, Lakeside quarterback, Brock Case, appeared to hike and spike the ball in an attempt to stop the clock with :02 seconds in the ball game. The pressbox official heard a whistle and stopped the clock with :02 seconds remaining, setting up a do-or-die 4th down, however, the officials convened and claimed that it was not their whistle! The field official did not call for a stoppage of time on Brock Case’s spike and thus ordered time to wind down to completion. And in a stunning exit off the field by the team of officials with players and fans alike wondering what just happened, the thrilling affair came to an end.
Surely this contest will make a conversation or two in the very near future. At the end of the day, no players were injured and it was a great night under the lights.
And so it is, in every and all situations, it’s still a GREAT DAY TO BE A WARRIOR!!