Just moments before Lambert and Johns Creek kicked off on Friday night, a lone bolt of lightning forced the Longhorn faithful to abandon the bleachers until the storm passed.
When the skies finally cleared, Lambert made sure that the wait was worthwhile for their home crowd with a 32-15 win over the Gladiators to secure their first win of 2015.
The Lambert offense was electric in the early going, jumping out to a quick 6-0 lead on a 52 yard touchdown run by junior Brian Wright (six carries, 78 yards, TD) on the third play from scrimmage. Wright navigated a small seam in the middle of the offensive line and used his speed to accelerate through the secondary and win the foot race down the far sideline.
“It was only my second run of the season and it was just electrifying,” Wright said. “I think it propelled the offense early and really set the tone for the game.”
On the following Lambert possession, quarterback Richie Kenney (14-of-19, 159 yards, TD) led the Longhorns on a six play, 54-yard scoring drive. Once in the red zone, Kenney connected with Justyn Jean-Felix on a quick hitting out-route for a 2-yard touchdown, giving Lambert a 13-0 advantage.
Johns Creek eventually showed some signs of life in the third quarter behind their third string quarterback, freshman Zac Gibson. Gibson (6-of-12, 139 yards, TD) found receiver Zach Williams with a quick pass over the middle, who then slipped through some uncharacteristically bad tackles from Longhorn defenders on his way to a 67-yard touchdown, bringing the Gladiators within eight points, 16-8.
Johns Creek again capitalized on a Lambert miscue late in the game to keep the contest interesting. A botched snap on a punt attempt caused the kick to be blocked off the punter’s foot, allowing Johns Creek to scoop up the ball and return it for a touchdown, narrowing the deficit to 25-15 early in the fourth quarter.
“We made a lot of situational mistakes tonight,” Lambert coach Louis Daniel said. “We have a lot of young kids playing in situations where they didn’t understand the down and distance. A lot of guys are having their first varsity experience on the big stage.”
Nevertheless, Lambert overcame their uneven play in the second half with a 9-play, 53 yard drive in the fourth quarter that ate precious time off the clock and culminated in a decisive 9-yard touchdown dash by sophomore Ken Dicks (14 carries, 91 yards, TD).
“I think (this game) really gives us confidence, especially with this being our first region win,” Wright said. “We have an all-region schedule from here on out. You always have to work hard, but (tonight) will boost us to work even harder.”