The Sherwood football team, it seemed, couldn't do anything right in the first half of its Friday game against Lakeridge.
Then, in the second half, the Bowmen seemingly couldn't do anything wrong.
Lakeridge, meanwhile, got dragged along for the ride, leading by two touchdowns in the first half, giving up four straight in the second and eventually falling 27-22 at Sherwood High School.
"We went into the locker room at halftime and we knew we were still in the game," said Sherwood junior running back Jamison Guerra, who ran six times for 147 yards in the win. "It was just two touchdowns. That's nothing to us."
"No way. Not at one point did anybody think that this game was over," said Sherwood senior running back Ian Stormont, who carried eight times for 16 yards and two second-half touchdowns. "We knew that we were in this."
The win snapped a two-game, season-opening losing streak for Sherwood and lifted the team's non-league record to 1-2, while the Pacers saw their two-game winning streak snapped and their early-season record fall to 1-2.
After forcing three first-half turnovers but scoring just twice, the Pacers knew they'd left a potential "W" on the table.
"I think we were the better team," said Lakeridge junior wide receiver Xander Houck, who finished with six catches for 43 yards. "We just didn't play well tonight."
"One hundred percent we should have won that game," said Lakeridge senior quarterback Charlie Maynes, who went 20 of 29 passing for 147 yards and one TD. "We feel like we're a better team, but they just outplayed us tonight."
Early on, the Pacers took advantage of a Sherwood turnover — Max Chandler's punt bounced off a Sherwood player's back and the Pacers recovered near midfield — that set up their first score.
From there, Maynes completed five straight passes for 28 yards, including a 4-yard strike to senior wide receiver Will Scadden in the left corner of the end zone with 7 minutes, 1 second to go in the first quarter. Chandler added the extra point for a 7-0 edge.
The Bowmen tried to respond on the ensuing series but turned the ball over again, this time fumbling it away after Bernhardt's 10-yard completion to Isaac Day at the Pacers' 19-yard line, with Day's fumble recovered by Jared Bartunek.
Sherwood gave the ball away for a second straight time — and for the third time in the opening half — on its next possession, this time fumbling the ball away to Lakeridge's Nolan Russell at the Pacers' 35.
But for the second straight time, the Pacers failed to take advantage of their opportunities — each time picking up two first downs before punting the ball away.
"We love scoring the ball here, but we just shot ourselves in the foot on some key drives," Maynes said.
Still, the Pacers' defense — which held Sherwood to just six first downs in the opening half — forced a punt on the Bowmen's next possession and Lakeridge took over at the Sherwood 48 with 8:21 remaining in the half.
From there, the Pacers marched 48 yards in 11 plays, with junior running back Jalen John carrying six times for 34 yards, the last of those a TD run over the right side to give his team a 14-0 edge.
After a quiet — OK, very quiet — first half offensively, the Bowmen awoke in the third quarter. Senior Ryan Scroggin broke off a 42-yard run on the first offensive play of the half, then carried twice more to notch his team's first score, the final run an 8-yarder off right tackle that cut Lakeridge's lead to 14-7 just 1:04 into the half.
After the Pacers misfired on their next drive — hamstrung by a bad snap from the shotgun that cost them 23 yards — Sherwood took over on its own 15. From there, the Bowmen went 85 yards in 10 plays, getting a 42-yard pickup by Guerra, and later, an 8-yard Bernhardt-to-Charlie Bullfinch completion that tied the game 14-14 with 1:56 to go in the third.
Then, after the Pacers were forced to punt on the first play of the fourth quarter, Sherwood stitched together a 90-yard scoring drive that took nine play and burned 3:55 off the clock, starting with a 52-yard Guerra run and ending when Stormont went 5 yards up the middle to score with 7:53 left in the game for a 21-14 lead.
"I think the biggest thing is we stopped the big plays," Stormont said. "That kills the momentum on the other side and we stopped their momentum. That helped us."
Lakeridge's next series also resulted in a punt, but this time, the Pacers' kick covered just 15 yards and gave the Bowmen possession at the Pacers' 31. Guerra picked up 17 on one play and Baxter another 10 to set up Stormont's 1-yard plunge over the right side that — along with a failed conversion run — gave Sherwood a 27-14 lead with just 2:54 remaining to play.
The Pacers weren't done yet, though. They answered with their first scoring drive since the second quarter, driving 80 yards in 13 plays, with Maynes going 5 of 8 for 45 yards and John carrying five times for 30 yards, including a 1-yard run over the right side that — coupled with John's conversion run — cut Sherwood's lead to 27-22 with :17 seconds left to play.
But Sherwood recovered Lakeridge's ensuing onside kick and took a knee once to run out the clock.
"We believe in each other no matter what," Guerra explained. "No matter whether we're 0-2 or 0-5, we're going to out there and fight for each other."
"It's always fun to see the pendulum swing the other way, especially when we're coming off such a low streak, coming off two losses to pretty good teams," Stormont added.
For their part, the Pacers vowed to come back strong.
"We'll fix that and get a win next week," Maynes said. "We expect to win out now. All heads are in now and we're hungry for sure."
For the game, Scroggin carried seven times for 75 yards, while Bernhardt completed 5 of 6 passes for 39 yards. For Lakeridge, John carried 25 times for 153 yards and two touchdowns.
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