As the clock wound down on Lakeside's 18-0 win over Glenn Hills, the large contingent of Panthers fans cheered on the other side.
Even at the Spartans' home stadium, Lakeside brought out more supporters. Panthers coach Jody Grooms took notice.
"Our fans are awesome. If we wouldn't have had the bad weather we would've had even more," Grooms said. "The student body is real excited. The teachers are excited. They're proud of what these kids have accomplished."
What Lakeside has accomplished has been amazing. With its third consecutive shutout, the Panthers already tied the school record for most shutouts. Also, Lakeside's defense has started the year with 12 consecutive scoreless quarters.
"The shutouts are amazing for us as a team," senior lineman Joshua Dickerson said. "All the hard work this summer is paying off."
Lakeside dominated Glenn Hills by blitzing on most plays and keeping the Spartans offense in check. Glenn Hills averaged just 2.6 yards per play on 44 plays (29 pass, 15 run).
"The kids have really responded to everything we've asked them to do," Panthers coach Jody Grooms said. "They've executed game plans. They've played hard. Everything is just falling into place right now.
"Now we just have to focus on Harlem."
With a steady rain falling most of the first half, the teams were locked into a defensive struggle. But Lakeside sophomore quarterback Mark Weidenaar, in his first varsity start, tossed touchdown passes of 36 and 51 yards in the second half to help give the Panthers a key Region 3-AAAA victory.
"Our offense had to step it up kind of late and help our defense out," said Weidenaar, who played the entire game in place of Ben Wilson.
Wilson, the team's main quarterback, suffered a concussion in last week's game and was held out for precautionary reasons.
"At halftime, we were a little frustrated because we weren't able to drive down the field on them. We just came out fired up, wanting to get a win."
With the victory, Lakeside posted its first 3-0 start in six seasons, but it did not come easy. Glenn Hills' defense held the Panthers to 159 total yards of offense, 17 in the first half.
The Spartans stubbed their own toes with a slew of mistakes. Glenn Hills lost four of six fumbles and also got called for two safeties. Also, Kevin Johnson's 61-yard punt return in the third quarter was called back after a block in the back penalty.
The Spartans were held to 123 total yards. Glenn Hills gained 72 rushing yards on 29 carries, but a large chunk of that total came on Justin Lord's 34-yard run in the first half.
The Spartans trailed 2-0 at halftime, but they fumbled away the opening kickoff of the second half.
After Glenn Hills' defense held, its offense gave the ball away again. Quarterback Kendrick Armstrong fumbled the ball at midfield, and this time Lakeside took advantage.
On first down from their 49, the Panthers called a wheel play for running back Ricky McMurtrey. He darted wide open down the right sideline and Weidenaar completed his second pass of the night, a 51-yard touchdown strike.
"We knew it was going to be there and it was," Weidenaar said. "There was no one near him."
After Ben Hunt nailed the long extra point after a excessive celebration penalty, Lakeside went up 9-0. It was more than enough points for a Panthers defense that entered the game with shutouts against Columbia County rivals Evans and Greenbrier. Lakeside allowed neither team to enter inside its own 20-yard line.
Glenn Hills, however, finally penetrated the Panthers' red zone. Justin Lord's juggling 33-yard catch advanced the Spartans to the Lakeside 40. Two plays later, the Panthers were called for unsportsmanlike. Glenn Hills had first down at the 14, but Lakeside's defense stiffened.
Alan Marionneax stuffed Tevarius Mack behind the line. Then an illegal participation penalty pushed the Spartans back into a hole. Later, Kendrick Armstrong threw incomplete on fourth down.
"We knew our defense was good enough to stop them," Dickerson said. "We just had to play hard."
Augusta Christian 21, Laurence Manning 14
Tyler Roberson's 3-yard run with 4:59 left lifted Augusta Christian in a game that saw all its scoring in the second half. The Lions led 14-0 in the third quarter before Laurence Manning evened the score with eight minutes left in the fourth.
Lions running back Cole Turner scored on an 80-yard run and Matt Rogers added another rushing score for Augusta Christian (3-1). Roberson, a freshman, was 12 of 21 passing for 79 yards and no interceptions.
Fairfield Central 50, Grovetown 0
Fairfield Central made the most of its trip across state lines.
The Winnboro, S.C., school limited first-year Grovetown (3-2) to 59 yards of offense while rolling up 423 yards.
The Warriors were held to four first downs. Darin Davis had a 10-yard reception for Grovetown.
Staff writer Stephen Fastenau contributed to this story.
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