Antioch running back Cody Gwinn walked gingerly behind the bleachers following Friday's 35-13 loss to Lakes and exchanged pleasant greetings with some players responsible for the punishment he took.
"They're good friends," said Gwinn, who ran up the middle on the vast majority of his 24 carries. "They helped me up every time I got the ball. Good sportsmanship. Good players. I just know them from doing high school sports. They're nice."
This game between friendly rivals had an interesting flow. Lakes came in as strong favorites and stepped on the gas immediately. On the very first snap, Direll Clark took a swing pass from T.J. Edwards and sprinted 65 yards down the visiting sideline for a quick score.
Antioch went three-and-out on its first possession and the visiting Eagles scored again on just three plays, this time on a 9-yard run by Clark.
Lakes (4-1, 2-0) came out throwing, with Edwards hitting 9-of-10 passes for 225 yards in the first half. Clark finished with 158 rushing yards on 18 carries after acting as an early decoy.
"They were really packing the box on Direll," Edwards said. "So we broke it up and our wide receivers made really good plays and our offensive line gave me all the time in the world."
By the time both teams had four possessions, Lakes had piled up 236 yards on offense, compared to just 10 for Antioch. The Eagles led 28-0 after tacking on a 35-yard shovel pass to Andrew Spencer and 3-yard run from Edwards.
"It's important to spread the ball out," Lakes coach Luke Mertens added. "You can't just rely on one guy. You become that one-dimensional, it's tough to beat good teams. Antioch's a good team and we knew we were going to have to keep them off-balance."
With the score 28-0 not even two minutes into the second quarter, this seemed to be a mismatch. All of the sudden, Antioch recovered a fumble and started opening holes for Gwinn. His 29-yard run set up the Sequoits' first touchdown.
Antioch recovered a beautiful onside kick and threatened to score again, but lost a fumble at the Lakes 23-yard line. The Eagles quickly moved 77 yards and went ahead 35-7 at halftime on a 3-yard run from Clark.
The Sequoits (2-3, 1-2) battled in the second half, grabbing 2 interceptions deep in their own territory. After recovering a muffed punt, they added a second touchdown on a 1-yard run by Gwinn, who finished with 108 yards on 24 carries.
"We did some good things," Antioch coach Brian Glashagel said. "We didn't make mental mistakes like we've made in our other losses, so it's something to build on."
Clark threw one of Lakes' interceptions. He'd been running out of the Wildcat formation, but his lone pass attempt landed in the hands of Antioch's Jackson Boeh.
"It was fun playing quarterback, I guess," Clark said with a laugh. "We thought we could catch them off guard, so I threw the ball."
Lakes got a scare when right guard Riley Dixon was injured on the final play of the first half. He sat out the rest of the game with a shoulder injury, but Mertens thinks he'll be fine.