ST. PETERSBURG — The third annual Mayor’s Cup between Lakewood and Northeast was supposed to be over by halftime. The Spartans had planned to have such a big lead that they could rest the starters for next week’s playoff game against Hudson.
Lakewood had to work harder than expected Thursday. Nursing a two-touchdown lead at the half, the Spartans finally got going in the second half and pulled away from Northeast, 51-7.
Lakewood (7-3) overcame 130 penalty yards and outgained Northeast 353-149.
“I was a little upset with them at halftime,” Lakewood coach Cory Moore said. “It wasn’t about us showing off against Northeast. It’s about playing Lakewood football. We had to focus on the small things and stop those penalties. We can’t have those in the playoffs.”
Lakewood looked good on its first possession, an eight-play drive that ended on a 1-yard run by Romello Presely. It became 14-0 early in the second quarter when Jocqui Ellison hit Tyrae Boykins on a 6-yard pass.
After a stalled drive, Lakewood scored again when Ryan Davis ran in from 4 yards. But Northeast (1-9) closed the gap to 21-7 after Jeff D’Alvia passed to Keith Harrington for a 5-yard touchdown.
That was the halftime score. Then Lakewood heated up. The Spartans scored on their first two possessions of the second half to make it 35-7.
Lakewood had 232 rushing yards. Nine players carried the ball for the Spartans.
“We wanted to run the football,” Moore said. “That’s what is going to win in the playoffs. We had opportunities to pass, but tonight it was about the run.”
Several Lakewood players transferred from Northeast before the start of the season, including Davis.
“I just looked at it as another game,” Davis said. “I didn’t let any of that stuff get to me. It was a fun game to play.”
Northeast coach Mike Jalazo found the positives in a tough season.
“Our kids never quit all year,” he said. “We had trouble stopping them, but we kept fighting. I thought our team fought harder as the season went along.”