The Pacers lead three times against the Bowmen but can’t hold on.
There’s never a wrong time to pick up a “W.”
But on the days you don’t, you better get something positive out of the “L.”
That’s what the Lakeridge football team did on Friday, Sept. 16, dropping a 47-35 non-league shootout at Sherwood High School, but getting better nonetheless.
“I thought it was also a great game in terms of battling back from adversity,” said Lakeridge coach Spencer Phillips. “We were up, then down, then tied, then back up again, then down. So those are good things to go through early in the season.
“(And) I actually think we got better this last week. Even though we didn’t win, we got a lot better individually.”
With the loss, the team’s second straight, the Pacers — ranked eighth in the second Class 6A coaches poll of the season — fell to 1-2 overall. No. 10 Sherwood, meanwhile, snapped a one-game losing streak and improved to 1-2 in non-league action. Next up, the Pacers will play at Sunset (2-1 overall) at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 22.
The Pacers led early on a 12-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback Ryan Oliver to senior wide receiver Bryson Corbin, then saw the Bowmen come back to tie the contest 7-7 at the end of the first quarter.
Lakeridge pushed ahead 14-7 on a one-yard TD run by Chili Stephens in the second quarter, only to see Sherwood come back again and tie the contest at halftime.
The third quarter featured an explosion of scoring, with the Pacers notching three touchdowns but falling behind 41-35 because the Bowmen reached the end zone four times. Freshman running back Ansu Sanoe scored the first Lakeridge TD on a one-yard pass from Oliver, while the next two featured Oliver throws to junior wide receiver Joey Olsen, the first a 72-yard score and the second a six-yard TD.
But the Pacers’ offense got stopped cold in the fourth quarter, while the Bowmen added one more TD to pull away.
Despite the final score, Phillips liked a lot of what he saw from his young team.
“I thought our team played very tough. We never gave up,” he said. “The difference in the game was they made big-time plays in critical moments. I want to credit their QB (junior Kasen Covert) for extending plays and making plays on key third-down moments and at the end of the half.”
A week after being tested by a very physical Jesuit team, the Pacers’ defense got a similar challenge from Sherwood.
“We are very very young on defense and it’s showing,” Phillips said. “So, for our guys to play two weeks in a row vs. very physical and bigger teams than us, the experience is invaluable.
“You learn a lot when things don’t go your way, so I am excited to see how are kids handle the upcoming weeks after some tough losses to top-10 opponents.”
For the game, Sanoe led Lakeridge with 18 carries for 68 yards, while Stephens rushed eight times for 37 yards. Oliver connected on 18 of 25 passes for 232 yards with four TDs and no interceptions. Olsen led Pacer receivers with two catches for 78 yards and two scores, while senior Jace Swygard made three catches for 60 yards and senior Lucas Burkeen added five for 31.