PORT CHARLOTTE — Lakewood Ranch High running backs Taryn Laws and Mike Myers had all but mastered all of Port Charlotte’s defensive schemes before the two teams even set foot on the field last Friday.
The Mustangs and the Pirates both run a similar defense — a scheme Laws and Myers spend regular time working against in practice. The defensive similarities proved beneficial on a night when the Mustangs needed it the most.
The two tailbacks exploited Port Charlotte’s defense, combining for more than 200 yards and two touchdowns on 39 carries, leading Lakewood to a 42-6 rout of Port Charlotte in its district opener Oct. 9.
“Their defense is run the same way as our defense,” Laws said. “That’s what we’ve been looking at all season, so it was easier to execute.”
“We’ve seen that defense every week since spring, so it was no surprise what they were going to do,” he said. “Everything was rolling. Everything was crisp tonight.”
With the win, Lakewood snapped a two-game losing streak, improving its record to 3-3 and 1-0 in Class 4A-District 11 action, while Port Charlotte dropped to 1-5 on the season. The Mustangs racked up 432 yards of total offense behind a strong performance by the offensive line.
“The kids played hard,” coach Shawn Trent said. “We’re still young up there and they seem like they’re getting better every week, so that’s all we can ask out of them.”
The Mustangs gained momentum early in the first quarter when senior Jake Carlton recovered a muffed punt on the Pirates’ 16-yard line. Three plays later, senior quarterback Reggie Lindsey punched the ball in from a yard out.
Lindsey capped of the Mustangs’ next possession with a 16-yard run, giving Lakewood a 14-0 lead. Lakewood further extended its lead in the second quarter when Lindsey connected with senior Octavious Washington for a 46-yard strike. Washington caught five passes for 115 yards.
“It’s pretty nice to throw to a 6-foot-3 kid out there,” Trent said of Washington.
The Mustangs found the end zone on their next possession when Lindsey connected with senior tight end Zack Self to close out the first half.
Port Charlotte responded on its opening possession of the second half when running back Logan Tuttle burst up the middle for a 65-yard touchdown run, cutting Lakewood’s lead to 28-6. It was the Pirates’ longest run of the night as the Mustangs’ defense forced two turnovers and held Port Charlotte to six first downs and 150 yards of total offense.
“Defensively, I thought we did what we wanted to do,” Trent said.
Lakewood added two more touchdowns in the second half on a 9-yard run by Laws and a 24-yard run by Myers. Laws finished with 108 yards on the ground and Myers added 101 yards.
Lindsey completed 8-of-13 passes for 138 yards and two touchdowns and also rushed for 67 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
The Mustangs will look to build off of last week’s victory tomorrow night when they travel to Bayshore for a non-district game. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.
The Bruins (3-3, 1-1 3A-10) are coming off a 50-14 rout of Booker last week. If the Mustangs can garner another strong performance from their defense and secure the football then they should be able to defeat Bayshore and sit above .500 as they prepare for their final two district games of the season.
“If we don’t come out flat we should (hopefully) win the rest of our games,” Myers said.
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LR 14 14 7 7 — 42
PC 0 0 6 0 — 6
LR — Reggie Lindsey 1 run (Seth Browning kick), 8:51
LR — Lindsey 16 run (Browning kick), 2:47
LR — Octavious Washington 46 pass from Lindsey (Browning kick), 5:04
LR — Zack Self 16 pass from Lindsey (Browning kick), 25.9
PC — Logan Tuttle 65 run (kick failed), 10:56
LR — Taryn Laws 9 run (Browning kick), 8:13
LR — Michael Myers 24 run (Browning kick), 8:00
Rushing — Lakewood Ranch: Laws 23-108, Myers 16-101, Lindsey 8-67, Jake Carlton 2-18. Port Charlotte: Tuttle 7-77, Tyler Harless 9-37, Alan Cherry 1-22, Alwyn Laplace 3-1, Zachary Wheeler 3-0.
Passing — Lakewood Ranch: Lindsey 8-13-138-0. Port Charlotte: Harless 1-8-13-1, Wheeler 0-4-0-0.
Receiving — Lakewood Ranch: Washington 5-115, Self 1-16, Daniel Clifford 1-10, Damen Gilbert 1-(minus 3). Port Charlotte: Laplace 1-13.