The Lakeview Academy Lions had a couple of goals going into Friday night’s game: Clinch the program’s first winning campaign, and send a message to the final opponent of the season.
Against North Cobb Christian at Jock Hornor Field, the Lions did both. They set a program record for points scored and a program record for wins in a 63-28 victory over the Eagles that was all but over long before the final whistle.
Lakeview (5-2) finished 4-4 the last two seasons, which included a pair of 49-21 wins over North Cobb Christian (3-5), the most points scored by the Lions until Friday night.
Lakeview Academy senior Trevor Price, who scored four total touchdowns, felt they sent a message to the Lions’ final opponent of the season, Towns County.
“We were trying to prove something,” Price said. “And we wanted to send a message to Towns County. The season is not complete until Towns County. That’ll cap the whole deal.”
Lakeview Academy finishes its eight-game season against Towns County on Friday in Gainesville, while North Cobb Christian returns home to face St. Francis in Acworth.
Lakeview quarterback Ted Reynolds, who threw for two touchdowns and ran for another, said the key for the Lions was the blocking, which allowed the team to run up 487 total yards of offense — 397 on the ground — on the way to a 50-0 advantage midway through the third quarter before both teams subbed in their second units.
Like Price, Reynolds is looking forward to the large senior class’ final game.
“This is a team (Towns County) we’ve played the last couple of years and we know they’re going to bring it,” he said. “But we’re going to enjoy this one tonight, making history.”
Lakeview led 34-0 at the half, at which point Price had already done all his running (four carries for 142 yards and two scores) and receiving (one catch for 37 yards and a touchdown) for the day. He added a 35-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown in the third quarter.
Reynolds, who also did nearly all his damage in the first half, finished 3 for 6 for 90 yards and two touchdowns, and added 11 carries for 47 yards and a score.
“We came after them early, executed very well,” Lakeview coach Matthew Gruhn said. “A couple of plays went our way, but we did play well.”
Lakeview Academy didn’t waste any time on offense to start the game, as Price broke free for a 64-yard touchdown run on the second play of the game to put the Lions ahead.
Lakeview deployed a wishbone formation in addition to its standard double slot, with both formations working well in the first half.
The Lions’ second drive of the game took a good deal longer, spanning 10 plays and 75 yards, but it ended with the same result after Reynolds’ 5-yard touchdown run. Joel Larson’s second extra point of the night put the hosts ahead 14-0 with 4:25 left in the first.
After a second straight three-and-out by the Lakeview defense, Price struck again, this time with a 47-yard run to put the Lions ahead 20-0 with 42 seconds remaining in the opening quarter after a missed extra point.
Lakeview’s fourth possession of the game resulted in a fourth touchdown, with Reynolds hitting receiver John Cox off the play action for a 35-yard touchdown pass to go up 27-0 with 7:53 left in the half. The Lions’ drive included a couple of bruising runs by running back Caleb Faulkner for first downs to extend the drive.
Lions defensive back Paris Thomas recovered a fumble on North Cobb Christian’s next drive, but the Eagles defense responded and forced Lakeview’s first punt of the game.
The Lions added a fifth first-half touchdown with 54 seconds left in the half, with Reynolds finding Price for a 37-yard touchdown pass — the third touchdown for each player in the opening half. Lakeview took a 34-0 lead at the half, holding the Eagles to one first down and 78 yards of offense, 52 coming on the Eagles’ last-ditch drive before half.
Price scored his final touchdown of the night just after halftime when he scooped up a North Cobb Christian fumble and ran it back for a touchdown.
Faulkner added a 23-yard touchdown with 6:25 left in the third which, along with a safety earlier in the quarter, put the hosts ahead 50-0.
With North Cobb Christian backup quarterback Alex Ho-On going against the second team Lakeview defense, the Eagles finally broke through. Ho-On (9 for 15 for 211 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions) and Kendall Crute (94 yards receiving) hooked up for a pair of touchdowns, John Towne (124 yards receiving) caught another and Elijah Weems return a Lakeview fumble 85 yards for a score to complete a 28-0 run for North Cobb Christian in the third and fourth.
Price said he and the rest of the starters wanted to get back in to stem the tide, but Gruhn kept the Lions’ second team in to hold the 22-point lead, and the unit finished the game with a pair of scores. Drake Hollander scored on a 1-yard run and Chance Calderhead returned an interception 55 yards for a score. Cox also intercepted a pass in the fourth.
“These guys have got to learn to play, so we stuck with them,” Gruhn said. “They’re next year’s team.”