Warriors are improved

Published 3:51 pm Monday, August 25, 2008

MERRY HILL – The final score may not reflect it, but Lawrence Academy coach Mike Dail saw a lot of improvement of his 2008 Warriors over a season ago.

True, Word of God Christian Academy scored an impressive 64-21 win Friday at Merry Hill in the season-opener for both teams, but the Warriors were gamers against the Holy Rams ’til the final seconds ticked off the clock.

In fact, for a quarter-and-a-half it was anybody’s game.   But after pulling within a touchdown at 20-14 midway through the second quarter, the Rams rolled up 44 straight points with a quick lightning offense and blitzing defense to gain their first win of the year.

&uot;The air just seemed to go out of us,&uot; said Dail after the game. &uot;We played so well early, but they’ve got a lot of speed over there, very fast and very athletic, and we just got worn down early.&uot;

Word of God took the opening kickoff and marched 70 yards for their first score as Robert Evans hit Jaylen Parker with a 24 yard strike and staked the Rams to a 6-0 lead.

Back came Lawrence on their first possession as Daniel Rose took the kickoff 46 yards to the Rams 35 and five plays later quarterback Blake Hill scrambled two yards on a keeper for the equalizer and in just over six minutes the game was tied at 6-6.

Lawrence’s defense stiffened on Word of God’s next series despite the Rams getting into the red-zone in three quick plays.  Lawrence’s Scooter Cowand broke thru on a stunt to stuff running back Reggie Jackson, then Mason Hughes sacked Evans and then after two incomplete passes the Rams were called for a holding penalty on fourth down that killed the drive at the Lawrence 21-yard line.

Lawrence couldn’t capitalize on their next series and Word went ahead then next time they had the ball when Evans called his own number on a play-fake for six more points and a two-point conversion made the score, 14-6, Rams after one quarter of play.

A Shaquan Webley run upped Word’s lead to 20-6 early in the second quarter before the Warriors pulled off their most electric play of the night: Diminutive kick-returner, Daniel Rose, outran the Rams kick coverage and raced 80 yards down the right sideline to paydirt and pulled Lawrence within six at 20-14.

But that would be as close as the Warriors could come on the night.  Word of God scored on three of their next four possessions and carried a 20-point lead into the locker-room at halftime, 34-14.

In the second half, Lawrence could never get on track as Evans, Demetri Washington, and Jarvis Denning all scored on running plays.  Word of God matched Lawrence’s physical play and balanced it out with speed and impressive athleticism to put up ten more points and lead 44-14 after three quarters, and bulged that out to 54-14 before scoring a garbage touchdown and leading 62-14.

Lawrence mustered a final touchdown as time ran out when Hill directed a nine-play drive from the Lawrence 38-yard line that ended with his second score of the night as time expired.

&uot;I was real proud of our young lineman, Lance Harrell and Chris Holley&uot;, said Dail.  &uot;Clint Thompson and Shane Leggett also came in and did an outstanding job for us, especially trying to contain the speed of ‘Number-one’ (Denning).

Lawrence takes to the road for their next game in Durham Friday night against Cresset Christian Academy, a program only in their second season on eight-man football.

&uot;It’s their (Cresset’s) first home game ever, so they’ll be pumped up and ready to go,&uot; Dail said with a wink.  &uot;But we’re going to try to sneak in there and steal one.&uot;