Both teams experienced their 14-point leads disappearing, caused turnovers that changed the momentum, and made impressive plays that stunned the sidelines.
The allotted 48 minutes were insufficient to determine a victor.
Calvin Lacewell, a first-year student, led Lakewood and senior Heath Britt’s impressive performance secured their victory as the Leopards advanced to the third round of the playoffs for the first time in four years with a thrilling 35-28 overtime win against Perquimans on Thursday evening.
The game was reminiscent of a heavyweight boxing match, with both teams trading blows that seemed to increase in intensity with each round.
The Pirates were the first to score, with Braylon Knapp passing to Jarmon Overton in the back of the end zone for a 7-0 lead that remained in place during the first quarter.
In the beginning of the second quarter, Perquimans attempted a deceptive play by faking a punt. However, Britt disrupted the completed pass, causing the ball to be knocked loose and recovered by Cameron Williams.
Lakewood’s advantageous field position was brief as Britt lost control of the ball to sophomore Ataviyon White. This turnover ultimately led to a scoring drive for the Pirates, with Knapp connecting with Omaree Hunter to advance deep into Leopard territory.
Perquimans took a 14-0 lead in the second quarter after Shavoris Lewis Jr. caught a 17-yard touchdown pass.
During the last few seconds of the first half, the Leopards completely changed the outcome of the game.
Rylan Godbold threw a pass to Garrison Harter who made a diving touchdown for Lakewood’s first score. Despite less than 10 seconds left, they were not finished.
Perquimans decided to execute one more play before the first half ended, but it turned out to be a calamity. Kristofer Robinson deflected a pass at the line of scrimmage and Britt intercepted it in the secondary, scoring a pick-six just as time ran out. The subsequent extra point was unsuccessful, leaving the Pirates with a 14-13 lead as both teams headed to the locker room.
Lakewood’s 28 unanswered points followed a chaotic end to the second quarter.
Lacewell scored two touchdowns in the second half, and Britt converted a two-point play in between, giving the Leopards a 28-14 advantage with 8:35 remaining in the game.
Did we not mention that this game was insane?
Perquimans responded to Lacewell’s second rushing touchdown by completing a quick scoring drive in just 66 seconds, bringing the score within six points. Knapp made a long pass to an open Hunter, followed by a successful two-point conversion, narrowing the gap to 28-22.
Lakewood successfully ran the ball with Lacewell and Nakai Owens, then punted and pinned the Pirates at the 1 yard line with 2:44 left on the clock.
In just 1 minute and 40 seconds, Perquimans managed to score despite having 99 yards of Sampson County air to overcome. The Pirates were helped by a completion which moved them away from their own end zone, but a penalty and sack by Williams put them in a difficult third-and-long situation. However, Knapp’s successful pass set up a more reasonable 4th-and-9 scenario, and ultimately resulted in a surprising game-tying touchdown pass to Hunter that caught the entire defense off guard.
The attempt at an extra point to gain the lead missed to the left and resulted in a tied score of 28-28, leading the game to go into overtime.
At the start of the initial overtime, the Leopards quickly took action. Lacewell advanced by seven yards, and Britt scored a touchdown on the second attempt at the goal.
Even though Perquimans made it to the 2 yard line, they were unable to score a touchdown on their next four attempts, including an incomplete pass on fourth down.
Lakewood is now 10-2 and heads to the third round where it will face the winner of Pender at West Columbus. The Leopards are third round bound for the first time since 2017, and have completed a drastic turnaround this season after posting below .500 records in each of the past four years.
Perquimans finishes their season with a total record of 7 wins and 4 losses.