Defense was the name of the game on Friday as Walled Lake Western fought off Lakeland in the fourth quarter for a hard earned 21-14 win. The Warriors defense led by cornerback Cody White came up with two big interceptions with less than three minutes left to clinch the victory and spoil Lakeland’s homecoming.
White picked off his first pass with 2:47 remaining at the Eagles 47-yard line. Lakeland’s defense stood tall forcing a Warrior punt with 2:28 left in the game. After Hunter Roberts got a first down for Lakeland with 1:37, Westerns defense came up big again.
Jack Dodge tipped a Lakeland pass to Cody White who returned his second interception to the Eagles 33-yard line with 1:26 left. The Warriors then ran out the clock.
WL Western scored twice in the first half on a 11-yard touchdown pass from Johnny Tracy to Cam Ford with 5:36 left in the opening quarter. Tracy tossed his second TD pass to Justin Thomas from 11-yards out as the Warriors led 14-0 with 8:36 left in the half.
Lakeland’s Dylan Kutzleb recorded a 17-yard touchdown run that capped a 79-yard, nine play drive as the Eagles trailed 14-7. Matt Lowe picked off a Western pass with 2:28 left in the first half to set up a field goal attempt from the 16-yard line. Special teams came up big for Western as they blocked the attempt as the Warriors led 14-7 at intermission.
On Western’s second possession of the third quarter, Tracy hooked up again on a 17 yard touchdown pass to Justin Thomas for what proved to be the winning TD with 2:48 left in the third quarter.
“Lakeland played really, really well,” said WL Western Coach Mike Zdebski after the game. “Our kids overcame some adversity tonight. Our defense was great tonight. Matt Alati came up with two blocks on field goals that was a big part of the game.”
Hunter Roberts blasted in from the one yard line with 4:09 left in the game to cut the margin to 21-14. The Eagles covered the onside kick at the 50, but could not get over the hump giving up two interceptions late.
“I don’t think I could be more proud of my kids tonight,” said Lakeland Coach Joe Woodruff. “We played well tonight.” Senior Hunter Roberts rans for 99 yards on 25 carries for the Eagles while Dylan Kutzleb chipped in with 75 yards on 12 carries.
Jalen Marshall led the Warriors with 70 tough yards and Johnny Tracy threw for three TD’s.
WL Western (7-1, 5-0 KLAA North) will travel to Brighton (7-1, 5-0 KLAA West) next Friday to play for the KLAA Lakes Championship.