After getting off to a slow start, the Rams put up 29 points in the second quarter to take a 43-25 homecoming win over Hope Friday night at Chick Austin Field.
Sturdy defense from both sides kept the third quarter scoreless before Rams senior quarterback Jordan Mills found senior receiver Brock Garner, who ducked a tackle to pick up a 26-yard gain to midfield.
After short pickups off passes to sophomores Skylar Purifoy and Kyler Wolf, sophomore running back Braylen Russell snagged a quick pass, breaking tackles and spinning his way 23 yards into the end zone for the first score of the second half with 2:03 off the clock in the fourth quarter. After senior kicker Andrew DeGrasse's good kick, Lakeside (3-4, 2-2 5A-South) led 36-13.
The Bobcats (1-6, 1-2) responded with 7:42 remaining when senior Ammorrion Dempsey hit senior Tyzhan Jones from 18 yards out for the score, but the 2-point attempt failed. Hope continued to battle back, scoring once more with 2:40 remaining when sophomore quarterback Tyler Patterson found Jones, who got loose and ran 83 yards for the touchdown.
Following another failed 2-point conversion, Lakeside wasted no time capping the win in big fashion. Taking the kickoff at their own 45 yard line, Mills connected with Wolf on the first play from scrimmage to set the final.
Though the Rams later turned it on, it was the Bobcats who controlled the start of the game. Lakeside fumbled on its first series of downs to give Hope solid field position at the Rams 27 yard line just into the game.
Senior running back KeJuan Booker took advantage, tearing up the ground up to the 4 before junior Jaqualin Watson took it in for the first score of the night, just under 4 minutes into the game.
The Bobcats defense continued to hold the Rams before an 11-play series that carried over into the second quarter got things going for Lakeside.
Russell led the Rams rushing effort into the end zone at the 9:52 mark of the second. After a perfect pass from Mills to Wolf in the left corner of the end zone with 7:27 remaining, Russell came back with two minutes remaining to bulldoze his way in to make it 21-7 Rams.
Hope answered shortly after with a 62-yard touchdown run from Dempsey before Garner reeled in an acrobatic catch off a bobble in the end zone with 16 seconds remaining in the first half.
Mills went 20-for-36 passing for 346 yards, and Russell rushed for 143 yards. Wolf had 98 yards receiving, Garner reeled in 91 yards, and Chase Cross caught for 84 yards.
Patterson went 3-for-11 passing for 111 yards while Dempsey went 3-for-6 passing for 28 yards passing while rushing for 120 yards. Jones had 141 yards receiving, and Booker had 114 yards rushing.
The Rams travel to DeQueen next week while the Bobcats go to Camden Fairview.