The clock read 19 seconds left in the first half. Senior quarterback Gunnar Englund lined up his offense with almost 70 yards of field between him and the endzone. With a 34 point lead, he was in perfect position to take a knee and end the half.
Instead, Englund took the snap, dropped into his pocket and lofted a pass to senior wide receiver Alec Dean. Dean roped it in near the 20 yard line, and suddenly the Lancers were within striking zone of the end zone. After an unsuccessful running play, Englund fired another pass across the middle of the field. Senior Charley White dove to catch the low ball in the end zone, and the Lancers scored their fifth touchdown.
The 70-yard drive only took the Lancers 19 seconds and three plays, and it illustrated the high-tempo pace that the team set throughout their 41-6 victory over SM Northwest. Although the Lancers struggled with multiple fumbles and offensive penalties, the strength of the rushing game and a smothering performance by the defense provided the third Lancer blow-out of the season.
The Lancers relied on the running game, with junior Wyatt Edmiston pushing the ball up the middle for 108 yards and two touchdowns. Later in the game, junior Calvin Jones took the spot of Edmiston and rushed for 64 yards and two touchdowns, continuing to pound the ball up the middle.
This focus on rushing bought time for Englund in the pocket, and he capitalized by throwing for 105 yards and one touchdown. Englund was picked off towards the end of the second half, and the interception gave the Cougars their only score. After the pick-six, Englund responded with two resounding passing drives that resulted in touchdowns from Dean and White. Although the Lancers opened the game with a pass-heavy offense, they stopped throwing the ball in the second half.
The interception, along with multiple fumbles and offensive penalties, is a part of the offense that Englund looks forward to improving.
“Like last week, we moved the ball well and played pretty well, but mistakes and fumbles hurt us again,” Englund said. “I lost [the ball] when I faked a handoff and it hit the running back, and then Wyatt fumbled a pitch. It’s things we can fix.”
Although the Cougars scored on the interception, they were held scoreless by the Lancer defense. After forcing consecutive three-and-outs, the defense never allowed the Cougars into their red zone and stopped the running game in the gut of the field.
With the Cougars missing their main running back, Duron Lowe, the SM Northwest offense was out of rhythm. Senior Kyle Ball capitalized on the weakness, bursting through the offensive line to sack the quarterback and make stops in the backfield.
“Our coaches drilled us all week on their main plays so we ate it up,” Ball said. “Then they had to start trying different things but we never got lazy and always stuck to our keys.”
With their third win of the season, the Lancers average 43 points per game, outscoring their opponents by an average margin of 38 points. Next week, the team faces off against SM West. Can’t make it to the game? Watch the broadcast here.