Lakers unable to find their spark in season-ending loss to Washington

Mitch Prentice
Camdenton senior receiver Cooper Ezard (21) dodges multiple Washington defenders on his way to the endzone for a touchdown.

It was a hard-fought battle from start to finish Friday night, as the Camdenton Lakers met for a district showdown against the Washington Blue Jays. The two teams looked equal in every phase throughout the night, trading big offensive plays as well as sturdy defensive stops. However, Washington was able to find the endzone within the final two minutes of the contest to seal their victory and end Camdenton’s playoff run.

Washington opened the game with a big kickoff return to the Camdenton 30, which would set a quick pace early on. The blue jays would utilize the field position and score on a 30-yard catch by senior tight end Ryan Hoerstkamp. Not wanting to be outdone so early, Camdenton would respond with a huge play of their own, as senior quarterback Jacob Wormsley would find senior Cooper Ezard downfield for a 66-yard touchdown. The first quarter would end with stout defense play by the Lakers following the touchdown, making the score 7-7 heading into quarter two.

Opening up the second quarter, Camdenton would get the ball back to their offense and would make a big play once more on a big pass from Wormsley to junior Kam Durnin into blue jays territory. Unfortunately, the drive would halt and end up fruitless as the Lakers would attempt a field goal that would be no good. Washington would attempt to use this and drive the ball hard down the field once more, but the Lakers’ defense would come up big again and turn the ball over on downs.

This would be a constant throughout the night, as much of the Lakers’ offensive performance would be matched by the blue jays. The same can be said defensively, as the two teams look equal in all phases throughout much of the night.

Camdenton quickly looked to have secured their first lead of the night on a big 50+ yard pass play to senior Jadin Faulconer, but the touchdown would be called back on a holding penalty. The two teams would continue to go back and forth for much of the second quarter. Near the end of Q2, Camdenton junior Jaden Parkman would intercept Washington and give the Lakers one more chance for the lead before the half. Unfortunately, the Lakers would cough up the ball on a fumble during the first play of their offensive drive and hand it right back over. The blue jays would find Hoerstkamp in the endzone once more to close out the first half with the lead, 14-7.

The Lakers would come out of the locker room with the ball and would take their time to find the endzone. After a drive riddled with penalties by Washington, the Lakers would score on a scramble by Wormsley for one-yard into the endzone to tie things up. Washington would drive down the field in the response, but Camdenton’s defense would once more get the ball back to the offense on downs. Nothing would come of the following offense drive, and Washington would be on the move once more heading into the fourth quarter.

Opening the fourth quarter, the blue jays would make a statement with a solid touchdown drive capped off by senior Cole Nahlik. Getting the ball back down 7, Camdenton had to put up a score to stay alive. As all looked lost and the team faced a fourth-down play to stay in it, Wormsley would find Ezard on a sideline run to pick up a huge first down on a miracle throw and catch. Following the first down catch, Wormsley would connect with Ezard again for the touchdown, tying things up 21-21.

The Lakers needed to stop the blue jays once more to have any hope for victory, but that would not be in the cards. The blue jays would move down the field quickly and with only 1:07 left on the clock, Nahlik would find the endzone again giving Washington a 28-21 lead. Camdenton would try to throw a few deep balls to find a magic score and head into overtime, but they would have no luck and the game would end on an interception.

It felt like the Lakers were neck and neck with the blue jays throughout the entire night, though Washington had the more timely score to wrap things up. Coach Jeff Shore said after the game that it’s always rough when things end, but he was still extremely proud of the effort seen by the team from start to finish. Though this was obviously not the way they wanted to end their season, the heart on display during the game was enough.

“Our guys never quit, no doubt about it,” Shore said. “They really showed a lot of character tonight and played hard until the end.”

Wormsley ended the night with 261 passing yards and two touchdown passes. Ezard was the biggest target of the night, hauling in 11 catches for 151 yards and two touchdowns. The team struggled to find room in their rushing attack, totaling -3 yards total on 16 attempts overall. Faulconer grabbed seven catches for 48 yards and Senior Eli Griffin caught four passes for 18 yards. (More stats to come)