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Lakeridge capitalizes on Centennial mistakes in a blowout victory

by: VERN UYETAKE - Lakeridge runningback Lopeti Aisea had a breakout performance against Centennial, rushing for 205 yards on eight carries. The Lakeridge football team continued its strong start to the season last Friday thanks, in large part, to an astounding second-quarter showing against Centennial.

The Pacers put the game away early in the second period after the Eagles had some early success running the ball.

But, when Vontrel Mills returned a punt back 56 yards for a score to make it a 14-0 game, it kicked off a 44-point stanza for Lakeridge, which cruised 58-21 at home.

Lakeridge was stymied by three penalties on its opening drive and, when Centennial took over, it steadily chipped away with its patented veer offense running game.

The Pacers defended it relatively well but, on a pair of fourth-and-short situations, Centennial busted plays for 35 and 21 yards respectively.

The Eagles would reach Lakeridge’s one-yard line before the Pacers came up with a big goal line stop on fourth down.

Starting just inches from their goal line, Lakeridge quickly found breathing room on a pass from Eric Dungey to JR McLaughlin and, three plays later, Lopeti Aisea broke a 58-yard touchdown run.

Aisea, a transfer from Lincoln, would be the breakout star of the game for the Pacers. The physical tailback was a tough match-up for the Eagles, rumbling for 205 yards on just eight carries.

Lakeridge then forced a three-and-out to set up Mills’ punt return and the wheels started to fall off for the Eagles.

Centennial fumbled on its next two possessions leading to a 76-yard touchdown reception by McLaughlin and a 15-yard touchdown catch by Joe Sindlinger to make it 29-0.

The Eagles responded by finally taking to the air, connecting on completions of 29 and 22 yards to set up their first touchdown.

The Pacers got the points back less than a minute later. A 39-yard catch by McLaughlin was followed by a 15-yard touchdown catch from Jack Cole.

On the first play of Centennial’s next possession, Jacob Tipton recorded a sack and forced a fumble that was recovered by Maqueese Royster.

Two player later, Dungey hit McLaughlin for a 15-yard touchdown.

After forcing another stop with one minute left in the half, the Pacers figured to be content to take a 44-7 lead into the locker room.

However, Aisea took a handoff and ran through the entire Eagles’ defense for an electrifying 75-yard touchdown run to put the finishing touches on an incredible 12 minutes of football for the Pacers.

Things turned a bit sloppy in the third quarter. The teams traded fumbles on the first three possessions of the period.

Sindlinger would tack on a 40-yard touchdown catch to complete the scoring on the night for the Pacers. Centennial would score twice in the fourth quarter as Lakeridge let off the throttle.

For the game, McLaughlin went over 200 yards receiving and Dungey was 18-for-25 for 364 yards and five touchdowns.

Lakeridge will be at home Friday against North Salem.

Contract Publishing

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