Rangers Fall to Bay in Home Opener

Coach Thome speaking to the team after the game. 

The Lakewood football team fell 26-7 to Bay on Friday night at First Federal Lakewood Stadium. The Rockets capitalized on Ranger turnovers, scoring three touchdowns in the second quarter to build a large lead. Lakewood held Bay scoreless in the second half, but wasn’t able to cut into the halftime margin.    

The game opened well for Lakewood. Bay received the opening kickoff and went “three and out” in its opening possession. The Rangers then went on a 52 yard scoring drive, taking the lead on a three yard touchdown run by junior Don Mikuluk. Junior David Burns added the extra point, which gave Lakewood a 7-0 lead with 6:24 remaining in the first quarter.

Bay responded with a big special teams play on the ensuing kickoff. Junior Brendan Spellman returned the kick to the Ranger 33 yard line, giving the Rocket offense a short field. They cashed in with a three yard touchdown run by junior Charles Rice. Rice then completed a successful two-point conversion run, giving Bay an 8-7 lead with 3:22 left in the third quarter.

Both teams exchanged possessions in the next two series with no one scoring. Then came the first turnover of the evening, as Bay intercepted a pass at the Lakewood 25 yard line. Spellman scored three plays later, running for an 8 yard touchdown. The two-point conversion failed, making the score 14-7 Bay with 8:08 left in the first half.

Lakewood turned the ball over on its next drive, fumbling on the second play from scrimmage. Bay recovered at the Ranger 25 yard line, then went on another scoring drive. Spellman made a three yard touchdown run to extend the lead to 20-7 with 4:38 remaining in the half. The Ranger defense again stopped a two-point conversion try.

The Rangers were stopped on a fourth down play late in the half, giving the ball to Bay at midfield with 2:07 on the clock. Junior Jace Knapp scored a six yard touchdown run with seven seconds left on the clock, extending the lead to 26-7. The Rangers again stopped a two-point try.

Lakewood’s defense stiffened in the second half, making adjustments to Bay’s Wing T offense. They prevented any more scoring drives the rest of the night. The offense put together a solid drive during the third quarter, but it stalled at the Bay 36 yard line. They made one more good drive late in the game, but were unable to score in the final minute.

“We made too many mistakes” Ranger Head Coach Tom Thome said after the game, “we didn’t take care of the ball.” However, he was pleased with his teams effort, especially in the scoreless second half. “The defense responded great” he said.  Lakewood, (1-1 on the season) travels to Fairview next week for a conference game on Friday night. Fairview (1-1) defeated Parma 22-0 on Friday night at Byers Field.

Mike Deneen

Mike Deneen has extensive experience covering sports and community stories for the Lakewood Observer. Mike was a 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 

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Volume 18, Issue 17, Posted 11:08 PM, 08.26.2022