By Jonathan Heeter
After losing to Wayne County Saturday night, Lakeside will finish last in the region for the second time in three seasons.
Neither school came into the game with much to lose. All the two teams could play for was avoiding the Region 2-AAAA cellar.
Wayne County (3-6, 2-5) dodged falling into the region basement after knocking off Lakeside 14-7 at Panther Stadium.
"All we had was pride tonight," said Yellow Jackets coach Craig Davis. "We owe it to our seniors to go out there and play our best even if we can't make the playoffs."
Wayne County got 102 yards rushing on 11 carries from Jarod Mullis, a backup filling in for starter Armand Jordan, who was injured on the Yellow Jackets' opening drive.
Mullis broke a 47-yard run late in the first half to put the Jackets in the red zone. Two plays later, Mullis plunged in from a yard out to give Wayne County a 14-7 lead.
The Panthers had trouble capitalizing on two Jacket turnovers and great field position all night, bolstered by two 30-plus yard punt returns by Chris Drayton.
Lakeside had the ball in Jacket territory six times for the game but managed only one touchdown, a 20-yard pass from Drayton to Arthur Marshall.
Drayton teamed with Travis Azar to fill in for Lakeside's regualr starter, Jimmy Johnson. Johnson suffered a concussion against Evans last week and will be out for the rest of the season.
"We knew about [Johnson's] concussion," Davis said. "We knew that [Lakeside coach] Randy Hill would do the right thing and what was best for the kid."
Neither Drayton nor Azar could cash in on the great field position for most of the game, losing two fumbles in Jacket territory. After stopping Wayne County on fourth-and-1 from the Lakeside 19-yard line, the Panthers had one last chance with 2:02 left to play in the game.
J.R. Bryant intercepted Azar at the Lakeside 25-yard line to seal the game. The Yellow Jackets got to the Lakeside 1-yard line, but took a knee after Lakeside exhausted its timeouts.
"It was a big win for us," Davis said, "and we hope to carry it over to Evans next week."
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