GROVETOWN — After setting the tone for the game against Grovetown, Lakeside’s Stephen Houzah was far from finished.
Houzah broke free on the opening kickoff for a 93-yard touchdown return. He also caught four passes for 112 yards and another three touchdowns as the Panthers cruised to a 58-20 victory Friday night.
Last season, the Panthers (3-2, 1-1 Region 2-AAAAA) squeaked out a 21-17 win, but they ensured that would not not happen again as they jumped out to a 45-0 halftime lead, taking advantage of six Grovetown turnovers.
The Warriors finished with seven turnovers.
“Last year it went down to the wire and this year and we wanted to make sure it didn’t,” Houzah said.
The Warriors (1-4, 0-2) turned the ball over six times on five fumbles and a Zaccheus Banks interception and punted on their other first-half possession.
The dangerous Lakeside offense capitalized on the turnovers.
Jalen Harrison scored on a 26-yard run capping a 13-second possession then it took nine seconds for quarterback Hunter Banks to connect with Houzah for a 53-yard touchdown as the Panthers went ahead 21-0 in the first quarter.
Banks was on fire in the first half, connecting on 9 of 10 attempts for 172 yards and three touchdowns. He played the first possesion of the second half completing 1 of 2 for another five yards.
Harrison rushed for 112 yards on 13 carries and scored twice, while Joshua Jones ran for one score and caught a 30-yard pass from Nick Patterson for another. Luke Harmon connected on a 30-yard field goal as well.
The Warriors got on the board late in the third quarter as Jared Cox broke free for a 62-yard touchdown then caught a screen pass from Desmond Sampson for 12 yards and another score. Sampson finished the scoring on a 12-yard run with 11 seconds left in the game.
Lakeside head coach Jarrett Troxler was proud of the team’s overall effort and knew it was an important victory with Houston County coming up next week.
“It’s big, it’s a region win,” Troxler said. “It was a very important win with us losing to Northside last week.”