Last night, the LHS football team pulled off a thrilling homecoming win against the Kennedy Commanders, 22-21. It is the first time LHS has won a homecoming football game in five years, and this inspired victory is one to remember.
“Last night before I went to bed, I had a good feeling about the game and we showed up and won by a point. It’s really satisfying,” said senior WR/CB Devin Young.
From the opening kickoff, LHS came out strong and scored their first touchdown of the season- an ode to their preparation for this game. Senior RB/LB Matt Norwood, playing his first game of the season, ran the ball in from the 2 yard line. Norwood’s return to action seemed to boost the morale and confidence of the Lions.
The teams battled the entire game and scoring went back and forth, but LHS never faltered. The coaching staff made smart calls and the team was determined to be victorious. The first half ended with the Commanders up 13-12.
“When they[Kennedy] got their extra point and went up by one going into halftime, we all sat there and talked like, ‘We got to finish this one out. We are competing with this team, we can’t come up short,'” said Young.
In the second half, the Lions converted a 36 yard field goal to go up 15-13. Kennedy quickly answered with a touchdown of their own making the score 21-15.
Midway through the fourth quarter, the Lions faced a 4th and 1 in their own territory. Coach Krantz made the gutsy call to fake a punt. A direct snap went to upback Norwood, who fought to gain the needed yard. The officials deliberated for some time before finally signaling a first down.
This excitement was soon followed by Norwood’s burst up the middle for an unbelievable 70 yard touchdown. Those in attendance went nuts. The Lions had regained the lead 22-21.
With less than five minutes to go in the fourth quarter, Kennedy was moving the ball deep into Lion territory. The LHS defense then stepped up to force and recover a fumble.
The Lion offense was soon faced with a 3rd and 9 in their own end. They needed a first down to maintain possession and move the clock. Senior QB Zack Marquez handed the ball to Norwood who went ‘beast mode’ for 18 yards. This was an amazing play and everyone felt victory was close.
Ultimately, Kennedy did have one last shot to win.
“It was kind of unreal. It was 22-21, and we had a defensive stop to hold on for the win,” said Norwood.
On the final play, Norwood successfully kept the Kennedy receiver in bounds which allowed time to expire.
Along with this momentous game, homecoming festivities were in full swing with the tailgate and royalty crowning. Homecoming royalty was announced at half time and senior king and queen are Alden Kramer and Tatum Lyons.
The supportive student section made for a spirited atmosphere, and the football team was met with a congratulatory tunnel upon exiting their locker room.
A scary moment did occur in the third quarter. Junior RB/LB, Tony Banegos, took a hard hit to the head and was taken by ambulance to the hospital. All indications are that he will be okay which everyone is grateful for.
“Our coaches have been preaching all week about fighting, handling the punches and getting back up. I feel like this game was entirely about that. With Tony getting hurt and it being homecoming week, I feel like the motivation was there and we came through,” said Norwood.
This tremendous victory is one the LHS football program truly earned and deserved.