Lakeside opened the season with defeats against Thomson and Statesboro, a pair of traditionally strong programs.
Coach Jarrett Troxler hoped those tough nonregion matchups would prepare his team for what was to come. The way the Panthers closed their nonregion schedule Friday night, it appears they’re ready.
Visiting Lakeside surged past previously undefeated Westside in the second quarter en route to a 43-7 victory.
The Panthers (1-2) totaled 425 yards while consistently stuffing the rushing attack of the Patriots (3-1).
“They both played good,” Troxler said of his team’s offense and its defense. “I was a little disappointed at how sloppy we played in the second half on offense, but we’ll pick it up.”
JaVeon Brigham opened the scoring on Lakeside’s first possession with a 2-yard run. Westside quarterback Jalen Lampkin answered on a fourth-and-10 when he lofted a perfect spiral toward the front right corner of the end zone, where he found a waiting Lawrence Freeman for a 25-yard touchdown.
After that, Lakeside hit its stride.
Lining up in a variation of the Wildcat formation, Jonathan Edwards ran nearly untouched through the left side of the line on a 37-yard touchdown carry.
After a Westside punt, Edwards scored on the first play of the next Panthers possession. He took a quick pass near the line of scrimmage, then juked a defender. A little space was all the junior needed as he outran the Patriots’ defense for a 72-yard touchdown reception.
Sophomore Jalen Harrison then made it three touchdowns in the span of five minutes with a 10-yard touchdown run.
It brought the lead to 27-7 entering halftime.
Lakeside’s Colby Ellis had plenty of distance on a successful 30-yard field goal late in the third quarter. Harrison added a second touchdown on a 1-yard plunge early in the fourth.
Like Lakeside, Westside was able to move the ball in stretches and gained nearly as many first downs (16) as the Panthers (18). In addition, they both turned the ball over three times.
However, Westside’s turnovers came at the wrong times, either killing promising drives or setting up Lakeside scores.
That was the case on the final scoring play of the game, as Ishmael Bethel returned a fumble 31 yards for a touchdown.
For Lakeside, Edwards had 142 yards from scrimmage, while Tom Proctor completed 10 of 14 passes for 163 yards.
For Westside, Freeman caught seven passes for 117 yards, all in the first half.