It may seem pedestrian when compared to his 397-yard effort two weeks ago against Spanaway Lake, but Lakes junior Khalil Lewis’ 251 yards were the key to a 38-28 road victory over Stadium on Friday.
The Lancers needed Lewis’ effort to hold off the Tigers, who after trailing 25-7 in the second quarter, rallied to take a 28-25 lead in the third. The Lancers responded by scoring the game’s final 13 points to hold on for the win and remain one game back of first-place Lincoln in the PCL standings.
“It’s a big win,” Lakes head coach Dave Miller said. “Stadium is a good football team. They’ve got a great offense that has been scoring a lot of points on people. We knew we’d be in a battle. We didn’t play quite as well as we played last week in spots, but when we needed to we ran the football and kept it out of their hands and our defense made some big stops.”
With his 251 yards on Friday, Lewis increased his season total to 1,204 yards, and if the Lancers keep playing the way they’ve played the past four weeks with the postseason approaching, Lewis could have many more opportunities to add to that total.
“I couldn’t do it without my (offensive) line,” Lewis said. “They opened up all the holes. It was huge. It’s hard not to break for a big game when the holes are a mile wide.”
The Lancers took the lead on the first drive of the game. Lewis did much of the work, but it was senior Kyreice Miller who scored on a 9-yard run to take a 6-0 lead after extra point attempt was blocked. Stadium answered on the next possession, going 65 yards in nine plays, capped off by a 3-yard touchdown run by senior Jacob McLaughlin that gave the Tigers a 7-6 lead.
The second quarter belonged to the Lancers, who scored the game’s next 19 points, including a 40-yard touchdown run by Lewis and a 38-yard touchdown reception by Miller.
Lakes appeared to be in control, leading 25-7, but Stadium got a much-needed score just before halftime to pull to within 25-14.
Stadium carried the momentum created by that touchdown into the third quarter. Junior running back Nazje Briscoe scored on a 49-yard run on the first drive of the second half to pull to within 25-21. McLaughlin intercepted Lakes quarterback Liam Bladow on the Lancers’ next possession and three plays later Briscoe was in the end zone again, scoring on another 49-yard run and giving the Tigers their first lead of the game at 28-25.
Briscoe broke off the two big runs, but leading the Stadium offense throughout the game was senior quarterback Hunter Wendling, who completed 14 of his first 16 passes.
“You’ve got to mix up the coverage, because if he knows what is coming, he’s pretty good,” Miller said. “He does sling it around. He’s very experienced and he’s got a couple of really good receivers out there.”
Wendling finished the game 29-for-39 with 300 yards, one touchdown and one interception.
“He’s just been steady-Eddy for us,” Stadium head coach Thomas Ford said of Wendling. “He had a really rough week last week in terms of decision making. I know he went a little bit extra in the film room (this week) to eliminate any doubt and eliminate any confusion, and it showed tonight.”
Despite the efforts of Wendling and Briscoe, the Tigers lost a third consecutive game after a 4-1 start, falling to 3-3 in the PCL and 4-4 overall.
“I think the number one thing is we’ve just got to move on,” Ford said. “For us, we talk about it all the time, we don’t talk about the past because that is not a place you can compete. You can’t compete in the past, so for us we’ve got to move forward and get ready for a very, very good Lincoln team.”
After falling behind for the first time in the game early in the third quarter, the Lancers turned to Lewis who scored on a 4-yard run late in the quarter to give his team the lead once again.
To go with his 251 yards, Lewis carried the ball 30 times and scored two touchdowns.
“He runs hard, but those guys up front, that offensive line, boy those guys block like crazy,” Miller said. “We’re real proud of those five guys up front. We kind of ride them. We put it in their hands.”
The Lancers relied on their running game, but junior quarterback Liam Bladow also played well, especially in the first half when he completed his first six passes for 164 yards.
Bladow, who finished 9-for-12 for 189 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions.
“He did a lot of good things,” Miller said. “He made a couple of mistakes, a couple of misreads, but that’s normal for a junior starting his first year, but he does a good job of running our team and running our offense.”
L – Kyreice Miller 9 run (kick blocked)
S – Jacob McLaughlin 3 run (Rodrigo DosSantos kick)
L – Khalil Lewis 40 run (pass failed)
L – Manny Borrero-Lewis 1 run (run failed)
L – Kyreice Miller 38 pass from Liam Bladow (Liam Bladow kick)
S – Jaden Crooks 11 pass from Hunter Wendling (DosSantos kick)
S – Nazje Briscoe 49 run (DosSantos kick)
S – Nazje Briscoe 49 run (DosSantos kick
L – Khalil Lewis 4 run (kick blocked)
L – Na’hoku Agor 1 run (Bladow kick)
RUSHING – Lakes: Khalil Lewis 30-251; Kyreice Miller 1-9; Dorien Simon 1-3; Na’hoku Agor 6-23; Manny Borrero-Lewis 1-1. Stadium: Jacob McLaughlin 3-7; Nazje Briscoe 13-109; Hunter Wendling 8-(-10); Camron Rogers 1-2.
PASSING – Lakes: Liam Bladow 9-12-2-189. Stadium: Hunter Wendling 29-39-1-300.
RECEIVING – Lakes: Na’hoku Agor 5-135; Kyreice Miller 2-42; Cody Roe 1-8; Khalil Lewis 1-4. Stadium: Tyler Oliver 4-40; Camron Rogers 4-32; Mason Xavier 5-93; Jaden Crooks 5-26; Dylan Hartman 3-25.