Rangers Top John Marshall in Season Opener
The Lakewood Ranger football team opened its season with a decisive 38-6 victory over the Lawyers of John Marshall High School on Friday night in FFL Stadium. Senior running back Hakeem Quran paced the Ranger offense, scoring four touchdowns and gaining over 270 rushing yards. The Ranger defense was aggressive throughout the night, disrupting the Lawyer offense and forcing numerous turnovers.
Senior defensive lineman Tico Jones set the tone, making a sack and recovering a fumble on John Marshall’s first offensive series. Jones recovered the fumble at the Marshall seven yard line. Quran then scored a touchdown on the next play, giving the Rangers a 7-0 lead with 7:26 remaining in the first quarter. Quran, who also plays defensive back, made an interception on the next Marshall possession. Ranger quarterback Lucas Winters scored on a 6 yard touchdown run, and the extra point by sophomore kicker David Burns stretched the lead to 14-0 with 4:58 left in the first quarter.
Another Quran rushing touchdown and a field goal by Burns made the 24-0 at halftime, putting the game out of reach. Another touchdown early in the second half put the “running clock” rule into motion, since the Rangers led by over 30 points. John Marshall rallied for a late touchdown pass from sophomore Ammar Lakes to senior Tavian Jackson, making the final score 38-6.
The game was played on a warm night before a festive crowd at FFL Stadium. This was the first Ranger home game open to the public since the 2019 season. John Marshall, which missed the entire 2020 season due to the COVID Pandemic, played its first game in two years. Head Coach Terrence Cleggett and his staff have done an amazing job holding together a 50-man roster through the pandemic, but the lack of game experience was apparent in this game. The Lawyers timing was off most of the night, resulting in penalties and turnovers.
Ranger Head Coach Tom Thome was pleased with the win, but is far from content. “We got to continue to get better in practice” he told his players after the game. Cleggett’s postgame comments were complimentary of the Rangers intensity and effort. “They came out hard, and we weren’t where we needed to be”, he said. His team, although young and very inexperienced, is expected to contend for a spot in the Senate League Championship Game.
Lakewood, 1-0 on the season, returns to action next Friday night at Bay Village. The 7pm matchup is a conference game. The Rockets defeated West Geauga in a nonconference game on Friday night, also making them 1-0 on the season. The Rangers have not started a season 2-0 since the 20th century, so this game is an opportunity to make history.
Mike Deneen has extensive experience covering sports and community stories for the Lakewood Observer. Mike was s Senior Industry Analyst for the Freedonia Group in Cleveland, Ohio for 17 years. He has appeared on CNBC’s Closing Bell, NPR’s MarketPlace and has been quoted multiple times in The Wall Street Journal. He has made multiple guest appearances on ESPN Cleveland radio. Mike has also written for Inside Northwestern, a website that covers Northwestern Wildcat Athletics. You can reach him on Twitter at @MikeDeneen1