EDINBORO — Lakeview entered its playoff matchup with Region 3 champion Northwestern with nothing to lose. The Sailors had one win on the season and were trying for an upset in the opening round. While the Wildcats avoided playing a part in Lakeview’s Cinderella story, the Sailors have a program-building experience to close the 2019 campaign.
On Saturday night at Edinboro’s Sox Harrison Stadium, Northwestern shut out Lakeview 33-0 in the District 10 Class 2A quarterfinals. The Wildcats move on to play Greenville in the semifinals.
“It’s a stepping stone for next season,” said Lakeview head coach Bill Hickman. “Lakeview’s going to be a team to reckon with. We’ve come a long way. We’ve taken strides.”
Lakeview got its taste of postseason action, but a few early miscues gave Northwestern a big advantage early on that was too much for the Sailors to overcome.
On the opening drive, the Sailors were forced to punt, but the kick was blocked by Northwestern’s Alex Rimel. The ball bounced right to Jake Kelley for the first score.
“I’m thrilled. We preach to our kids all the time that special teams are important,” said Northwestern head coach Mark Brooks. “Blocking a punt is a huge momentum play and I think that set the tone from the first drive on.”
After a turnover on downs the next possession, all it took was two plays for Austin Swift to live up to his namesake. Swift sprinted 43 yards to make it 14-0 early.
Early in the second quarter, Ryan Tewell blew the game open with a touchdown pass, hitting Tanner Sumner up the middle on the post.
Late in the quarter the Wildcats got one more touchdown when Logan Scott rumbled in from six yards out to make it 27-0 at halftime. A pretty good offensive showing in spite of the downpour of rain.
“You’re happy to see the kids go out and execute the game plan whether it’s rainy, windy, or snowy. No matter what,” added Brooks.
The rain made things difficult for both teams offensively the rest of the way. Neither team could manage consistent drives for the third quarter.
“(Lakeview) came out and played a different defense than we anticipated and their kids run and tackle hard,” said Brooks. “I think that coach Hickman is doing a nice job down there and it won’t be long until he turns that thing around.”
The Wildcats put the finishing touches on the game with a late touchdown run by Isaac Hawley to get to the final of 33-0.
Swift ended up as the top rusher for the Wildcats with 62 yards on eight carries. Scott added 34 yards on five carries.
For Lakeview, Gavin Murdock went 6-for-11 at quarterback for 65 yards. Dominic Leonard led the ground attack with 71 yards on 13 touches. Lane Barber hauled in three passes for 66 yards.
“(My players) came out in the second half and we battled,” said Hickman. “We could’ve folded up tent, we could’ve opted out like other schools did. But we came up here at Edinboro on a rainy night to play football because our team doesn’t quit.”