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Lakeland Gridders win in playoffs

Lakeland held off Heritage, 38-26 in the first round of the 3A state football playoffs last Friday night in LaGrange.

Powered by the running of Adam Kreider and Nolan Isaacs, the Lakers built a 30-13 lead with three minutes left in the third quarter. Kreider and Isaacs each produced two touchdown rushes and a two-point conversion run to help fuel the Lakeland burst.

But Heritage, winners of just one game coming into the tilt, refused to go down without a fight. Hunter Bradtmueller’s seven-yard scoring jaunt late in the third period chopped the Laker advantage to 10 (30-20).

After stopping another Lakeland excursion deep into their territory, the Patriots used a bit of trickery to cut even more into the Laker lead. Quarterback Parker Tracey hit Nick Bosler in the left flat at the 30 yard line. Bosler then pitched the ball back a trailing Bradtmueller, who raced untouched down the sideline to complete the 74-yard hook-and-ladder. The scoring play narrowed the count to 30-26 with five minutes remaining in the fourth stanza.

With Heritage now smelling an upset, the Lakers needed a big play to stem the tide. They got just that from Kreider, who took a handoff from A.J. Poe and sprinted 65 yards to paydirt, pushing the difference back up to 12.

The Patriots had a chance to pull within a touchdown with just over two minutes to play when they drove to within a foot of the end zone. But on first-and-goal, Tracey fumbled the snap from center and Lakeland defender Daniel Lambright pounced on the pigskin to end the threat.

Kreider finished with 306 yards on 25 carries, pushing his season total to 1405. Isaacs cracked the 1000-yard barrier for the season with his 179-yard evening. The senior also picked off a pair of Heritage passes.

Coach Keith Thompson’s Lakers, now 5-5 on the campaign, will travel to Fort Wayne Concordia this Friday for their second-round game. The defending 3A state champion Cadets whipped Garrett, 20-6 in their tourney opener. Kickoff is slated for 7 p.m.

GAME SUMMARY

Lakeland 38

Heritage 26

Scoring by quarters

  HE     6     7     7     6    -26

  LL     8   16     8     8    -38

First Quarter

LL—Nolan Isaacs 84-yard run, conversion failed (11:38)

HE—Travis Gardner 21-yard pass from Parker Tracey, kick blocked (0:40)

Second Quarter

LL—Adam Kreider 15-yard run, Austin Albert conversion run (11:20)

HE—Blake Rhymer 13-yard pass from Tracey, Nick Bosler kick (3:44)

LL—Kreider 26-yard run, Kreider conversion run (2:39)

Third Quarter

LL—Isaacs one-yard run, conversion failed (3:00)

HE—Hunter Bradtmueller seven-yard run, Bosler kick (0:42)

Fourth Quarter

HE—Bradtmueller 74-yard run on lateral from Bosler after pass from Tracey, kick failed (5:00)

LL—Kreider 65-yard run, Kreider conversion run (4:39)

TEAM STATISTICS

                                HE            LL

Total Yards           485         505

Rushing                 231         488

Passing                   254            17

First Downs           26              21

Penalty Yards       80              60

Turnovers              3                   0

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

Rushing

HE—Bradtmueller 20-160; Rhymer 9-40; Knapke 4-23; Tracey 4-8

LL—Kreider 25-306; Isaacs 15-179; Yoder 6-13; Poe 1-(-10)

Passing

HE—Tracey 26-37, 254

LL—Poe 2-6, 17

Receiving

HE—Rhymer 10-76; Gardner 6-76; Bosler 5-54; Bradtmueller 2-19; Luginbill 1-12; Ray 1-11; Knapke 1-6

LL—Kreider 1-10; Lambright 1-7

Tackle Leaders

HE—Woenker 9.5; Ray 5.5; Scheuman 5.0; Bradtmueller 4.0

LL—Collins 7.0; Isaacs 6.0; Schlabach 6.0; Paulus 5.5