High School Football: Lakewood Stops Jackson Liberty in Their Tracks
Jackson–In what was touted to be a statement game in Class B South for the right to breath down Monsignor Donovan’s neck in the divisional race, Jackson Liberty, with its highly improved defense and coming off of a bye week, played host to Lakewood on Friday night. Many felt Liberty would be hungry to get back on the field after its gut wrenching double overtime 1 point loss to Barnegat, but Lakewood and their senior star Tyrice Beverette #2 came in looking to knock off a quality opponent to show it is going to be a serious contender for its first division title since 2000. Beverette said before the game, he wanted to “make a statement”, and he kept his promise as he dominated on both sides of the ball and showed why he is a highly regarded college recruit.
Liberty received the opening kickoff, but only seconds into the game, they found themselves down by a touchdown. On the 2nd play of their first drive, Liberty’s #44 Ahmed Foster fumbled a pass which Lakewood recovered on the 40 yard line of Liberty. The next play, a toss to #22 Michael Randolph resulted in a touch down for the Piners with the point after kick being good and giving Lakewood a 7-0 lead.
Unfortunately for the Lions, on the very next possession they would once again turn the ball over, this time on a fumbled screen pass to #14 Anthony Sasso, giving Lakewood the ball on the Liberty 20 yard line. On 3rd and goal from the 9, Lakewood was able to punch it in giving them a 13-0 lead after the point after attempt was missed. Lakewood, riding the momentum set up an onside kick and recovered it at midfield and just when it seemed that Liberty could not stop Lakewood’s offense or Beverette, #30 of Liberty, Bruce Almodovar put a big hit on him, forcing Beverette to cough up the ball which was recovered by Ahmed Foster of the Lions.
Liberty’s offense struggled throughout most of the first half and could not get into any kind of rhythm in either the passing game or on the ground rushing, turning the ball over twice on fumbles, being forced to punt twice and turning it over on downs during their last drive in the first half.
The Lions defense came out looking better in the 3rd quarter forcing Lakewood to punt the ball after 3 and outs on two consecutive possessions for the Piners, but the Lion’s offensive woes continued and they were unable to muster up any points in the 3rd.
In the 4th quarter, the Lions suffered another turnover when a sack resulted in a fumble, recovered by #44 of Lakewood, Datrell Reed. After a penalty and a rushing gain of 1 yard, Lakewood on 2 and goal from the 8 saw a pass over the middle completed to #9 Markee Paseler for 6 more points. Once again the extra point kick attempt was no good, giving Lakewood the 19-0 lead which Tyrice Beverette would make stand up when he picked off a pass late in the game, sealing the win for Lakewood.
The Lions look to get things righted and bounce back next week as they host Pinelands Regional High School.