Lakes freshman linebacker Devon Nofoa-Masoe gets to Lincoln junior quarterback Caden Filer. While the Lincoln defense was able to get into the Lancers’ backfield to cause disruptions in the first half, the tables turned in Lakes’ favor in the second half. A strong push up the middle put the Lincoln offense on its heels and unable to find a rhythm within the tumult. Photo by Rocky Ross

Playoff scenarios began to take shape following the eighth week of high school football in and around Tacoma. While most of the top dogs held their spots in the various leagues, it became clear that there was a new sheriff in town following Lakes’ visit to historic Lincoln Bowl on Friday, Oct. 19.

After four consecutive outright league championships, the Lincoln Abes will have to settle for second place this year, and they’re still going to have to fight for it.

The Lakes Lancers dropped their first two games of the season against 3A South Sound Conference foes. They have been known to be slow starters over the season, building up to strong playoff runs by the time the fog rolls into town. Since those two losses, the Lancers have rolled-up six consecutive victories now, including their shocking 42-24 road win over Lincoln.

With more than five minutes left on the clock in the first quarter, the Lancers were already ahead 14-0 and the home side of the stadium was beginning to get a little restless. An 84-yard opening drive march led to Lakes’ first score when senior quarterback Liam Bladow found senior reciever Daeshawn Wayne up the left side for a 27-yard strike. A 99-yard fumble return to the Lincoln half-yard line led to another Lancer touchdown when senior Camyron Gaulke pounded it over the goal-line.

Like the solid, defending champions that they were, the Lincoln Abes got down to business and put together an 80-yard scoring drive on the next possession.  It was capped by a seven-yard touchdown strike from junior quarterback Caden Filer to senior reciever Romere Williams. The Lakes’ lead was now 14-7 with 1:37 remaining in the first quarter.

The teams would then trade possession three times before Lincoln put another scoring drive together. Buoyed by a 15-yard pass interference penalty, combined with a 15-yard personal foul call, the Abes were knocking on the Lakes’ door in just one play. Filer would then hit super sophomore Julien Simon over the middle for a 12-yard touchdown pass. The teams were now tied at 14-14 with 4:35 remaining in the game.

On the following possession, Lakes would waste no time putting more points on the board. Bladow would launch a deep pass down the middle of the field that caught sophomore receiver Philip Riley in perfect stride and behind the Lincoln defense. The Lancers now led 21-14 with 3:28 remaining in the second quarter.

Lincoln would make another run at the Lakes’ end-zone before the half, but their drive stalled. Fortunately, the Abes have an excellent kicker in Gabriel Foster. The senior pounded a 35-yard field goal through the uprights that would have probably been good from 50. Lakes would take a 21-17 lead into the locker rooms.

After Lincoln’s third-quarter opening drive stalled, the Lancers looked to extend their lead. A questionable personal foul call on the Abes pushed the Lancers passed midfield and Lancers were soon within the Abes’ 10-yard line. Facing fourth-and-one, the Lancers went for it with Gaulke up the middle for his second touchdown of the game. Lakes now led 31-17 with 6:26 remaining in the third quarter.

The Lincoln Bowl crowd witnessed some serious, hard hitting in the third and fourth quarters. Lincoln’s senior, stud lineman Jayden Simon would leave the game late in the third quarter after stumbling sideways for a good 25 yards before tumbling to the turf. He was back up after a short while, but spent the remainder of the game on the training table. The Lancers were also putting a hurt on Filer with some hard tackles.

Early in the fourth quarter, Lakes’ Gaulke would score on a 23-yard run up the gut to push the Lancers’ lead to 35-17 with 11:54 remaining. Lakes would then make it 42-17 when Bladow connected on a 24-yard touchdown pass to Wayne with about seven minutes remaining in regulation time.

Lincoln finally got on the scoreboard with 2:57 remaining. Filer would connect with senior receiver Mykel Campbell for a nine-yard touchdown strike to the right edge of the end-zone to make it 42-24. The Lincoln offense rarely looked to the side of the field where Campbell was lining up throughout the game. Without getting a game changer like Campbell involved in the offense, Lincoln just couldn’t answer the Lancers’ speed and firepower.

With the win, Lakes takes the number one seed in the 3A Pierce County League. The Abes will battle it out with Bethel for the second seed on Friday, Oct. 26, at Art Crate Stadium in Graham at 7 p.m. A win sews up a home playoff game. The losing team will take the third seed and head north to face the WESCO’s third-place team. The Wilson Rams nabbed the fourth seed and will pay a visit to O’Dea on

Saturday, Nov. 3, at Memorial Stadium in Seattle.

If Rogers falls to league-leading Puyallup on Friday, Oct. 26, and the Curtis Vikings dispatch Olympia, the crew from University Place will snatch the fourth, and final, seed from the 4A South Puget Sound League, meaning a trip to either Mount Si, or Woodinville to open the playoffs.

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