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Lakewood snaps 20-game region losing streak; Gators blast Dreher 54-6

By J.B. BRUNSON
Special to The Sumter Item
Posted 10/27/19

It was a long, long time coming.

The Lakewood High School football team picked up its first region victory under third-year head coach Larry Cornelius with a 54-6 victory over Dreher on Friday at J. Frank Baker Stadium.

Not only was it the …

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Lakewood snaps 20-game region losing streak; Gators blast Dreher 54-6

Posted

It was a long, long time coming.

The Lakewood High School football team picked up its first region victory under third-year head coach Larry Cornelius with a 54-6 victory over Dreher on Friday at J. Frank Baker Stadium.

Not only was it the first region win under Cornelius in his 14th attempt, it was LHS' first region win since the 2015 season. Lakewood snapped a 20-game region losing streak.

"For me personally (the victory) means nothing, but for our school it means a lot," said Cornelius, whose team improved to 3-6 overall and 1-3 in region play. "This is huge for our school and our program."

Lakewood looked to bounce back from the previous week's 40-35 loss to Lower Richland. Lakewood would dominate Dreher in every aspect of the game.

The Gators will travel to face Sumter School District rival Crestwood in a game with huge playoff implications.

"We knew we had to win last two, especially after losing a close one to Lower Richland," Cornelius said. "We knew we had to win against Dreher, take care of business, and then focus on Crestwood next week. We have to make sure our defense is tight and just get the win. It's going to be a tough one."

The Gator defense would come up huge when linebacker Jamie Golden intercepted the Blue Devils, setting up the LHS offense at Dreher's 30-yard line. Lakewood would strike quickly with quarterback Cody Windham rushing for a 14-yard touchdown, giving the Gators an early 7-0 lead with 8:19 left in the first.

Windham would find wide receiver Kameron Rodriguez for a 22-yard passing touchdown later in the quarter to give the Gators a 14-0 lead after one quarter. After driving to begin the second quarter, Dreher missed a 36-yard field goal, allowing the Gators to set up their offense at their 20 with 8:38 left in the second quarter.

Lakewood put together a 10-play, 80-yard scoring drive, highlighted by a speedy 38-yard TD run from Cody Windham to give the Gators a 21-0 lead with 4:06 left in the first half. Dreher responded quickly with a 4-play, 68-yard scoring drive capped off by a 10-yard passing touchdown from quarterback Ryan Campbell to wide receiver Josh Drayton. A missed extra point left the score at 21-6 with 1:51 left in the first half.

Lakewood ran its 2-minute offense to perfection. Windham led the Gators on a 7-play, 80-yard scoring drive capped off with a 25-yard passing touchdown to wide receiver James Wright to give the Gators a 28-6 lead at at halftime.

Lakewood would continue to pour it on in the second half. The Gators got a 1-yard rushing touchdown from running back Javontae Lewis with 7:54 left in the third quarter. Lakewood's backfield would score once more as running back Jeffrey Lawson broke off a 13-yard run to put the Gators up 47-6 with 1:50 left in the third quarter.

The real difference of the second half would be Lakewood's ability to make plays on defense. The Gators intercepted Campbell three times in the third quarter. Defensive back Zayvion Wells wound be responsible for two of those interceptions, returning one of them 72 yards for a touchdown.

Defensive back Dorian Witherspoon intercepted Campbell for the last time, returning it 59 yards for a touchdown.