Friday night began on a somber note at The Horn as Lambert High School hosted a stirring tribute dedicated to the victims and first-responders of the September 11th terrorist attacks in New York City that shook the nation 14 years ago.
After the ceremony concluded, Lambert turned to the task at hand and came away with a hard fought 45-36 victory over Centennial, earning their second win of the young season.
After a rather tame first half of action, both offenses exploded in the second half and set a breakneck pace for the rest of the game. Lambert (2-1, 2-0 in Region 6-AAAAAA) relied on its grinding ground game, led by junior Harrison Pomfret, who racked up 150 yards to go along with three rushing touchdowns.
“Offensively, I thought we played well,” Lambert coach Louis Daniel said. “We made some mistakes, but we had a good game plan coming in and executed better than we did last week.”
For Centennial, junior quarterback Casen Conway was the most dynamic player of the evening, throwing for 344 yards and accounting for five touchdowns (four passing, one rushing). Conway connected on scoring throws of 10, 15, 25, and 74 yards during his white-hot performance.
The Lambert defense was plagued by several huge penalty calls, including two “roughing the passer” penalties that eventually led to a Centennial score.
Penalties aside, the defense struggled to effectively defend the passing game throughout the second half and were unable to pressure Conway enough to get him off rhythm.
“Defensively, I don’t know,” Daniel said, shaking his head. “(Casen) Conway is special at quarterback, and I love watching him play. But our defense … traditionally we play good defense, but tonight, we were just awful.”
Lambert carried a 17-8 lead in to the third quarter and quickly jumped ahead 24-8 on a 4-yard Pomfret plunge, his first score of the night. But after starting Longhorns rusher Brian Wright left the game with a lower body injury, the Centennial offense came to life and the shootout began in earnest.
Midway through the third quarter, Conway delivered a strike to receiver Caden Herring, who beat the man-to-man coverage and sprinted down the sideline for a 74-yard touchdown, bringing the Knights within 8 points, 24-16.
Defense was completely abandoned down the stretch as both teams scored touchdowns on each of their last four offensive drives.
Lambert’s final two fourth quarter drives proved to be the deciding factor in the contest. The first drained nearly seven minutes off of the clock and resulted in a 10-yard touchdown grab by senior Tanner Hall.
The second drive saw Pomfret finally break through the Centennial front seven for his biggest gain of the night as he galloped 44-yards for his third score, putting Lambert up 45-30 with only 2:21 remaining.
“There was some pressure, but with an O-line like (ours), it makes it pretty easy,” Pomfret said. “We (the Lambert backfield) all feel pretty good and we’re ready for Alpharetta next week.”
After the game, Daniel clarified that Brian Wright’s injury was little more than a tweak and that he should be available moving forward for the Longhorns
Lambert 45, Centennial 36
Centennial 0 8 8 20_36
Lambert 0 17 7 21_45
L_Wright 1 run (kick good), 11:41
L_Hall 21 FG, 6:05
C_Holland 25 pass from Conway (two-point good), 3:27
L_Gabriel 1 run (kick good), :36
L_Pomfret 4 run (kick good), 5:20
C_Herring 71 pass from Conway (two-point good), 3:51
L_Pomfret 7 rush (kick good), 11:54
C_Mason 15 pass from Conway (two-point failed), 11:12
L_Hall 20 pass from Kenney (kick good), 4:28
C_Mason 10 pass from Conway (two-point good), 2:25
L_Pomfret 44 run (PAT good), 1:19
C_Conway 18 run (two-point failed), :09