Finding itself down by eight points to host Bellefontaine in the fourth quarter, Indian Lake staged a major late-game rally, putting two touchdowns and a two-point conversion on the board and forcing a late Chieftain fumble on the final drive of the game to knock off the hosts, 28-21, in a Central Buckeye Conference-crossover game Sept. 18.
With the win, the Lakers improve to 3-1 on the year, while the Chieftains, who made the Division 2 playoffs in 2014, fall to 0-4.
Indian Lake had trouble getting out of its own way for the first three quarters, coughing the ball up to the Chiefs on both fumbles and interceptions and falling behind 21-13 going into the fourth. But the Lakers turned up the heat defensively and held on to the ball in the final quarter, scoring two touchdowns and a two-point conversion as the clock wound down to give them a seven-point lead. Bellefontaine was driving down field for a possible game-tying score in the waning minutes of the game and made it inside the five-yard line, but Laker Branden Henderson forced a fumble which was picked up by teammate Michael Nimbler, sealing the Chieftains’ fate.
Laker head coach Dave Coburn admitted the Lakers had a hard time getting out of the blocks, but turned it around in the second half.
“We just played hard, and that’s huge,” Coburn said. “We came out and had a little bit of a slow start, but we were able to slug our way out it.”
Quarterback Alex Jacobs led the Lakers offensively, running for 115 yards on 18 carries and two touchdowns, while passing for 93 yards, including a 12-yard flip to Collin Coburn for a TD late in the second quarter to make it a one-point game at half. Coburn also caught the two-point conversion which tied the score at 21 in the fourth. Connor Davis’ toe helped keep the Lakers close with two field goals – one each from 24 and 36-yards out – and chipped in two extra point kicks.
Joey Davison led the Laker defense with 12 tackles, while Andrew Hulbert and Henderson both made it into double-digits with 10 tackles apiece.
Indian Lake has one more CBC-crossover game against a high-scoring Tippecanoe Friday, Sept. 25. The Red Devils are 4-0 on the year after pasting Benjamin Logan, 76-22, Sept. 18. After that the Tipp game, the Lakers will see nothing but CBC Mad River Division rivals for the rest of the season.
Tom Stephens is a regular contributor to this newspaper.